BY THE SAME AUTHOR
THE SOFT SIDE
THE SACRED FOUNT
THE BETTER SORT
THE GOLDEN BOWL
THE FINER GRAIN
METHUEN & CO. LTD.
36 ESSEX STREET W.C.
First Published in
NO, my lord," Banks had replied, " no
stranger has yet arrived. But I'll see
if any one has come in or who has." As he
spoke, however, he observed Lady Sandgate's
approach to the hall by the entrance giving
upon the great terrace, and addressed her on her
passing the threshold. " Lord John, my lady."
With which, his duty majestically performed,
he retired to the quarter that of the main
access to the spacious centre of the house
from which he had ushered the visitor.
This personage, facing Lady Sandgate as
she paused there a moment framed by the
large doorway to the outer expanses, the small
pinkish paper of a folded telegram in her hand,
had partly before him, as an immediate effect,
the high wide interior, still breathing the quiet
air and the fair panelled security of the couple
4 THE OUTCRY
of hushed and stored centuries, in which
certain of the reputed treasures of Dedborough
Place beautifully disposed themselves ; and
then, through ample apertures and beyond the
stately stone outworks of the great seated and
supported house uplifting terrace, balanced,
balustraded steps and containing basins where
splash and spray were at rest all the rich
composed extension of garden and lawn and
park. An ancient, an assured elegance seemed
to reign; pictures and preserved " pieces,"
cabinets and tapestries, spoke, each for itself,
of fine selection and high distinction ; while the
originals of the old portraits, in more or less
deserved salience, hung over the happy scene
as the sworn members of a great guild might
have sat, on the beautiful April day, at one
of their annual feasts.
Such was the setting confirmed by generous
time, but the handsome woman of considerably
more than forty whose entrance had all but
coincided with that of Lord John either
belonged, for the eye, to no such complacent
company or enjoyed a relation to it in which
the odd twists and turns of history must have
been more frequent than any dull avenue or
THE OUTCRY 5
easy sequence. Lady Sandgate was shiningly
modern, and perhaps at no point more so
than by the effect of her express repudiation
of a mundane future certain to be more and
more offensive to women of real quality and
of formed taste. Clearly, at any rate, in her
hands, the clue to the antique confidence
had lost itself, and repose, however founded,
had given way to curiosity that is to specula-
tion however disguised. She might have
consented, or even attained, to being but
gracefully stupid, but she would presumably
have confessed, if put on her trial for restless-
ness or for intelligence, that she was, after all,
almost clever enough to be vulgar. Unmistak-
ably, moreover, she had still, with her fine
stature, her disciplined figure, her cherished
complexion, her bright important hair, her kind
bold eyes and her large constant smile, the
degree of beauty that might pretend to put
every other question by.
Lord John addressed her as with a signifi-
cant manner that he might have had that of
a lack of need, or even of interest, for any
explanation about herself : it would have been
clear that he was apt to discriminate with
6 THE OUTCRY
sharpness among possible claims on his atten-
tion. " I luckily find you at least, Lady
Sandgate they tell me Theign's off some-
She replied as with the general habit, on her
side, of bland reassurance ; it mostly had easier
consequences for herself than the perhaps
more showy creation of alarm. " Only off
in the park open to-day for a school-feast from
Dedborough, as you may have made out from
the avenue ; giving good advice, at the top
of his lungs, to four hundred and fifty
It was such a scene, and such an aspect of
the personage so accounted for, as Lord John
could easily take in, and his recognition
familiarly smiled. " Oh, he's so great on
such occasions that I'm sorry to be missing
"I've had to miss it," Lady Sandgate sighed
"that is to miss the peroration. I've just
left them ; but he had even then been going on
for twenty minutes ; and I dare say that if you
care to take a look you'll find him, poor dear
victim of duty, still at it."
"I'll warrant for, as I often tell him, he
THE OUTCRY 7
makes the idea of one's duty an awful thing
to his friends by the extravagance with which
he always overdoes it." And the image itself
appeared in some degree to prompt this par-
ticular edified friend to look at his watch and
consider. " I should like to come in for the
grand finale, but I rattled over in a great
measure to meet a party, as he calls himself
and calls, if you please, even me ! who's
motoring down by appointment and whom I
think I should be here to receive ; as well as a
little, I confess, in the hope of a glimpse of
Lady Grace : if you can perhaps imagine
that ! "
"I can imagine it perfectly," said Lady
Sandgate, whom evidently no perceptions of
that general order ever cost a strain. "It
quite sticks out of you, and every one moreover
has for some time past been waiting to see.
But you haven't then," she added, " come from
town ? "
" No, I'm for three days at Chanter with my
mother ; whom, as she kindly lent me her car,
I should have rather liked to bring."
Lady Sandgate left the unsaid, in this con-
nection, languish no longer than was decent.
8 THE OUTCRY
" But whom you doubtless had to leave, by her
preference, just settling down to bridge."
" Oh, to sit down would imply that my mother
at some moment of the day gets up ! "
"Which the Duchess never does?" Lady
Sandgate only asked to be allowed to show
how she saw it. " She fights to the last, in-
vincible ; gathering in the spoils and only rout-
ing her friends ? " She abounded genially in
her privileged vision. " Ah yes we know
something of that ! "
Lord John, who was a young man of a
rambling but not of an idle eye, fixed her an
instant with a surprise that was yet not steeped
in compassion. " You too then ? "
She wouldn't, however, too meanly narrow
it down. "Well, in this house generally;
where I'm so often made welcome, you see,
and where "
"Where," he broke in at once, "your jolly
good footing quite sticks out of you, perhaps
you'll let me say ! "
She clearly didn't mind his seeing her ask
herself how she should deal with so much
rather juvenile intelligence ; and indeed she
could only decide to deal quite simply. "You
THE OUTCRY 9
can't say more than I feel and am proud
to feel at being of comfort when they're
This but fed the light flame of his easy per-
ception which lighted for him, if she would,
all the facts equally. " And they're worried
now, you imply, because my terrible mother is
capable of heavy gains and of making a great
noise if she isn't paid ? I ought to mind
speaking of that truth," he went on as with a
practised glance in the direction of delicacy ;
"but I think I should like you to know that I
myself am not a bit ignorant of why it has
made such an impression here."
Lady Sandgate forestalled his knowledge.
" Because poor Kitty Imber who should
either never touch a card or else learn to suffer
in silence, as I've had to, goodness knows!
has thrown herself, with her impossible big
debt, upon her father ? whom she thinks her-
self entitled to ' look to ' even more as a lovely
young widow with a good jointure than she
formerly did as the mere most beautiful
daughter at home."
She had put the picture a shade interroga-
tively, but this was as nothing to the note of
TO THE OUTCRY
free inquiry in Lord John's reply. "You
mean that our lovely young widows to say
nothing of lovely young wives ought by this
time to have made out, in predicaments, how to
turn round ? "
His temporary hostess, even with his eyes
on her, appeared to decide after a moment not
wholly to disown his thought. But she smiled
for if. " Well, in that set ! "
" My mother's set ?" However, if she could
smile he could laugh. " I'm much obliged ! "
"Oh," she qualified, "I don't criticise her
Grace ; but the ways and traditions and tone of
this house "
" Make it" he took her sense straight from
her " the house in England where one feels
most the false note of a dishevelled and bank-
rupt elder daughter breaking in with a list of
her gaming debts to say nothing of others !
and wishing to have at least those wiped out in
the interest of her reputation ? Exactly so,"
he went on before she could meet it with a
diplomatic ambiguity ; " and just that, I assure
you, is a large part of the reason I like to come
here since I personally don't come with any
THE OUTCRY n
" Not the association of bankruptcy no ; as
you represent the payee ! "
The young man appeared to regard this
imputation for a moment almost as a liberty
taken. "How do you know so well, Lady
Sandgate, what I represent ? "
She bethought herself but briefly and
bravely. "Well, don't you represent, by your
own admission, certain fond aspirations ? Don't
you represent the belief very natural, I grant
that more than one perverse and extravagant
flower will be unlikely on such a fine healthy
old stem ; and, consistently with that, the hope
of arranging with our admirable host here that
he shall lend a helpful hand to your commend-
ing yourself to dear Grace ? "
Lord John might, in the light of these words,
have felt any latent infirmity in such a pre-
tension exposed ; but as he stood there facing
his chances he would have struck a spectator
as resting firmly enough on some felt residuum
of advantage : whether this were cleverness or
luck, the strength of his backing or that of his
sincerity. Even with the young woman to
whom our friends' reference thus broadened
still a vague quantity for us, you would have
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY
12 THE OUTCRY
taken his sincerity as quite possible and this
despite an odd element in him that you might
have described as a certain delicacy of brutality.
This younger son of a noble matron recognised
even by himself as terrible enjoyed in no im-
mediate or aggressive manner any imputable
private heritage or privilege of arrogance. He
would on the contrary have irradiated fineness
if his lustre hadn't been a little prematurely
dimmed. Active yet insubstantial, he was
slight and short and a trifle too punctually,
though not yet quite lamentably, bald.
Delicacy was in the arch of his eyebrow,
the finish of his facial line, the economy of
" treatment " by which his negative nose had
been enabled to look important and his meagre
mouth to smile its spareness away. He had
pleasant but hard little eyes they glittered,
handsomely, without promise and a neatness,
a coolness and an ease, a clear instinct for
making point take, on his behalf, the place of
weight and immunity that of capacity, which
represented somehow the art of living at a
high pitch and yet at a low cost. There was
that in his satisfied air which still suggested
sharp wants and this was withal the ambiguity ;
THE OUTCRY 13
for the temper of these appetites or views was
certainly, you would have concluded, not such
as always to sacrifice to form. If he really, for
instance, wanted Lady Grace, the passion or
the sense of his interest in it would scarce have
been considerately irritable.
" May I ask what you mean," he inquired
of Lady Sandgate, "by the question of my
' arranging ' ? "
" I mean that you're the very clever son of
a very clever mother."
"Oh, I'm less clever than you think," he
replied "if you really think it of me at all;
and mamma's a good sight cleverer ! "
" Than I think ? " Lady Sandgate echoed.
" Why, she's the person in all our world I
would gladly most resemble for her general
ability to put what she wants through." But
she at once added : " That is if- ! " pausing
on it with a smile.
"If what then?"
"Well, if I could be absolutely certain to
have all her kinds of cleverness without ex-
ception and to have them," said Lady Sand-
gate, "to the very end."
He definitely, he almost contemptuously
i 4 THE OUTCRY
declined to follow her. " The very end of
what ? "
She took her choice as amid all the wonder-
ful directions there might be, and then seemed
both to risk and to reserve something. " Say
of her so wonderfully successful general career."
It doubtless, however, warranted him in
appearing to cut insinuations short. "When
you're as clever as she you'll be as good." To
which he subjoined : " You don't begin to have
the opportunity of knowing how good she is."
This pronouncement, to whatever comparative
obscurity it might appear to relegate her, his
interlocutress had to take he was so prompt
with a more explicit challenge. "What is
it exactly that you suppose yourself to
know ? "
Lady Sandgate had after a moment, in her
supreme good humour, decided to take every-
thing. " I always proceed on the assumption
that I know everything, because that makes
people tell me."
" It wouldn't make me" he quite rang out,
"if I didn't want to! But as it happens," he
allowed, " there's a question it would be con-
venient to me to put to you. You must be,
THE OUTCRY 15
with your charming unconventional relation
with him, extremely in Theign's confidence.''
She waited a little as for more. "Is that
your question whether I am ? "
" No, but if you are you'll the better answer it."
She had no objection then to answering it
beautifully. " We're the best friends in the
world ; he has been really my providence, as a
lone woman with almost nobody and nothing of
her own, and I feel my footing here, as so
frequent and yet so discreet a visitor, simply
perfect. But I'm happy to say that for my
pleasure when I'm really curious this doesn't
close to me the sweet resource of occasionally
"Then I hope you've ground for believing
that if I go the right way about it he's likely to
listen to me."
Lady Sandgate measured her ground which
scarce seemed extensive. "The person he
most listens to just now and in fact at any
time, as you must have seen for yourself is that
arch-tormentor, or at least beautiful wheedler,
his elder daughter."
"Lady Imber's here?" Lord John alertly
16 THE OUTCRY
" She arrived last night and as we've other
visitors seems to have set up a side-show in
" Then she'll ' draw ' of course immensely, as
she always does. But her sister won't be in
that case with her," the young man supposed.
"Because Grace feels herself naturally an
independent show ? So she well may," said
Lady Sandgate, "but I must tell you that
when I last noticed them there Kitty was in
the very act of leading her away."
Lord John figured it a moment. " Lady
Imber" he ironically enlarged the figure
"can lead people away."
"Oh, dear Grace," his companion returned,
" happens fortunately to be firm ! "
This seemed to strike him for a moment as
equivocal. " Not against me, however you
don't mean ? You don't think she has a
beastly prejudice ?"
" Surely you can judge about it ; as know-
ing best what may or what mayn't have
happened between you."
"Well, I try to judge" and such candour
as was possible to Lord John seemed to sit
for a moment on his brow. " But I'm in
THE OUTCRY 17
fear of seeing her too much as I want to see
There was an appeal in it that Lady
Sandgate might have been moved to meet.
' ' Are you absolutely in earnest about her ? "
"Of course I am why shouldn't I be?
But," he said with impatience, " I wan*
" Very well then, that's what Lady Imber's
giving you." And as it appeared to take him
time to read into these words their full sense,
she produced others, and so far did help him
though the effort was in a degree that of her
exhibiting with some complacency her own
unassisted control of stray signs and shy lights.
" By telling her, by bringing it home to her,
that if she'll make up her mind to accept you
the Duchess will do the handsome thing.
Handsome, I mean, by Kitty."
Lord John, appropriating for his convenience
the truth in this, yet regarded it as open to a
becoming, an improving touch from himself.
" Well, and by me" To which he added, with
more of a challenge in it : " But you really
know what my mother will do ? "
" By my system," Lady Sandgate smiled,
1 8 THE OUTCRY
"you see I've guessed. What your mother
will do is what brought you over ! "
"Well, it's that," he allowed "and some-
"Something else?" she derisively echoed.
I should think 'that,' for an ardent lover
would have been enough."
" Ah, but it's all one job ! I mean it's one
idea," he hastened to explain " if you think
Lady Imber's really acting on her."
" Mightn't you go and see ? "
" I would in a moment if I hadn't to look
out for another matter too." And he renewed
his attention to his watch. " I mean getting
straight at my American, the party I just
But she had already taken him up. "You
too have an American and a ' party, ' and yours
also motors down ? "
"Mr. Breckenridge Bender." Lord John
named him with a shade of elation.
She gaped at the fuller light. "You know
my Breckenridge ? who I hoped was coming
for me ! "
Lord John as freely, but more gaily, wondered.
" Had he told you so ? "
THE OUTCRY 19
She held out, opened, the telegram she had
kept folded in her hand since her entrance.
" He has sent me that which, delivered to me
ten minutes ago out there, has brought me in
to receive him."
The young man read out this missive. " ' Fail-
ing to find you in Bruton Street, start in pursuit
and hope to overtake you about four.' " It did
involve an ambiguity. "Why, he has been
engaged these three days to coincide with
myself, and not to fail of him has been part of
Lady Sandgate, in her demonstrative way,
appealed to the general rich scene. " Then
why does he say it's me he's pursuing ? "
He seemed to recognise promptly enough in
her the sense of a menaced monopoly. " My
dear lady, he's pursuing expensive works of
" By which you imply that I'm one?" She
might have been wound up by her disappoint-
ment to almost any irony.
"I imply or rather I affirm that every
handsome woman is ! But what he arranged
with me about," Lord John explained, "was
that he should see the Dedborough pictures in
20 THE OUTCRY
general and the great Sir Joshua in particular
of which he had heard so much and to which
I've been thus glad to assist him."
This news, however, with its lively interest,
but deepened the listener's mystification.
"Then why this whole week that I've been
in the house hasn't our good friend here
mentioned to me his coming ? "
" Because our good friend here has had no
reason " Lord John could treat it now as
simple enough. "Good as he is in all ways,
he's so best of all about showing the house and
its contents that I haven't even thought neces-
sary to write him that I'm introducing
" I should have been happy to introduce
him," Lady Sandgate just quavered " if I had
at all known he wanted it."
Her companion weighed the difference
between them and appeared to pronounce it
a trifle he didn't care a fig for. " I surrender
you that privilege then of presenting him to
his host if I've seemed to you to snatch it
from you." To which Lord John added, as
with liberality unrestricted, " But I've been
taking him about to see what's worth while
THE OUTCRY 21
as only last week to Lady Lappington's
This revelation, though so casual in its
form, fairly drew from Lady Sandgate, as she
took it in, an interrogative wail. "Her
" Why, don't you know her great Venetian
family group, the What-do-you-call-'ems ?
seven full-length figures, each one a gem, for
which he paid her her price before he left the
She could but make it more richly re-
sound almost stricken, lost in her wistful
thought : " Seven full-length figures ? Her
price ? "
" Eight thousand slap down. Bender
knows," said Lord John, " what he wants."
' 'And does he want only" her wonder
grew and grew " * What-do-you-call-'ems ' ? "
"He most usually wants what he can't
have." Lord John made scarce more of it
than that. " But, awfully hard up as I fancy
her, Lady Lappington went at him."
It determined in his friend a boldly critical
attitude. "How horrible at the rate things
are leaving us ! " But this was far from the
22 THE OUTCRY
end of her interest. "And is that the way he
" Before he leaves the house ? " Lord John
lived it amusedly over. " Well, she took care
" How incredibly vulgar!" It all had,
however, for Lady Sandgate, still other con-
nectionswhich might have attenuated Lady
Lappington's case, though she didn't glance at
this. "He makes the most scandalous eyes
the ruffian ! at my great-grandmother." And
then as richly to enlighten any blankness :
' 'My tremendous Lawrence, don't you know?
in her wedding-dress, down to her knees ;
with such extraordinarily speaking eyes, such
lovely arms and hands, such wonderful flesh-
tints : universally considered the masterpiece
of the artist."
Lord John seemed to look a moment not so
much at the image evoked, in which he wasn't
interested, as at certain possibilities lurking
behind it. " And are you going to sell the
masterpiece of the artist ? "
She held her head high. "I've indig-
nantly refused for all his pressing me so
THE OUTCRY *$
" Yet that's what he nevertheless pursues
you to-day to keep up ? "
The question had a little the ring of those of
which the occupant of a witness-box is mostly
the subject, but Lady Sandgate was so far as
this went an imperturbable witness " I need
hardly fear it perhaps if in the light of what
you tell me of your arrangement with him
his pursuit becomes, where I am concerned, a
figure of speech/'
"Oh," Lord John returned, "he kills two
birds with one stone he sees both Sir Joshua
This version of the case had its effect, for
the moment, on his fair associate. " Does he
want to buy their pride and glory ? "
The young man, however, struck on his
own side, became at first but the bright re-
flector of her thought. "Is that wonder for
She closed her eyes as with the shudder
of hearing such words. " Not, surely, by
any monstrous chance! Fancy dear, proud
Theign ! "
" I can't fancy him no!" And Lord John
appeared to renounce the effort. , " But a cat
24 THE OUTCRY
may look at a king and a sharp funny Yankee
These things might be, Lady Sandgate's
face and gesture apparently signified ; but
another question diverted her. " You're clearly
a wonderful showman, but do you mind my
asking you whether you're on such an occasion
a well, a closely-interested one ? "
" ' Interested ' ? " he echoed ; though it wasn't
to gain time, he showed, for he would in that
case have taken more. "To the extent, you
mean, of my little percentage ? " And then as
in silence she but kept a slightly grim smile on
him: "Why do you ask if with your high
delicacy about your great-grandmother you've
nothing to place ? "
It took her a minute to say, while her fine
eye only rolled ; but when she spoke that
organ boldly rested and the truth vividly
appeared. " I ask because people like you,
Lord John, strike me as dangerous to the
how shall I name it ? the common weal ; and
because of my general strong feeling that
we don't want any more of our national
treasures (for I regard my great-grandmother
as national) to be scattered about the world."
THE OUTCRY 25
" There's much, in this country and age,"
he replied in an off-hand manner, "to be said
about that?' The present, however, was not
the time to say it all ; so he said something
else instead, accompanying this with a smile
that signified sufficiency. "To my friends,
I need scarcely remark to you, I'm all the
She had meanwhile seen the butler reappear
by the door that opened to the terrace, and
though the high, bleak, impersonal approach of
this functionary was ever, and more and more
at every step, a process to defy interpretation,
long practice evidently now enabled her to
suggest, as she turned again to her fellow-
visitor, a reading of it. "It's the friend then
clearly who's wanted in the park."
She might, by the ,way Banks looked at
her, have snatched from his hand a missive
addressed to another ; though while he
addressed himself to her companion he allowed
for her indecorum sufficiently to take it up
where she had left it. " By her ladyship, my
lord, who sends to hope you'll join them below
" Ah, Grace hopes," said Lady Sandgate
26 THE OUTCRY
for the young man's encouragement. "There
you are ! "
Lord John took up the motor- cap he had
laid down on coming in. "I rush to Lady
Grace, but don t demoralise Bender!" And
he went forth to the terrace and the gardens.
Banks looked about as for some further
exercise of his high function. "Will you
have tea, my lady ? "
This appeared to strike her as premature.
" Oh, thanks when they all come in."
" They'll scarcely all, my lady " he indi-
cated respectfully that he knew what he was
talking about. " There's tea in her ladyship's
tent ; but," he qualified, " it has also been
ordered for the saloon."
"Ah then," she said cheerfully, "Mr.
Bender will be glad ! " And she became
with this, aware of the approach of another
visitor. Banks considered, up and down, the
gentleman ushered in, at the left, by the
footman, who had received him at the main
entrance to the house. " Here he must be,
my lady." With which he retired to the
spacious opposite quarter, where he vanished,
while the footman, his own office performed,
THE OUTCRY 27
retreated as he had come, and Lady Sandgate,
all hospitality, received the many-sided author
of her specious telegram, of Lord John's
irritating confidence and of Lady Lappington's
HAVING greeted him with an explicitly
gracious welcome and both hands out, she
had at once gone on : " You'll of course have
tea? in the saloon."
But his mechanism seemed of the type
that has to expand and revolve before sound-
ing. " Why, the very first thing ? "
She only desired, as her laugh showed, to
accommodate. " Ah, have it the last if you
like ! "
"You see your English teas !" he pleaded
as he looked about him, so immediately and
frankly interested in the place and its contents
that his friend could only have taken this for
the very glance with which he must have
swept Lady Lappington's inferior scene.
" They're too much for you ? "
28 THE OUTCRY
"Well, they're too many. I think I've had
two or three on the road at any rate my
man did. I like to do business before "
But his sequence dropped as his eye caught
some object across the wealth of space.
She divertedly picked it up. " Before tea,
" Before everything, Lady Sandgate." He
was immensely % genial, but a queer, quaint,
rough-edged distinctness somehow kept it
safe for himself.
"Then you've come to do business?" Her
appeal and her emphasis melted as into a
caress which, however, spent itself on his
large high person as he consented, with less
of demonstration but more of attention, to look
down upon her. She could therefore but
reinforce it by an intenser note. " To tell me
you will treat ? "
Mr. Bender had six feet of stature and an
air as of having received benefits at the hands
of fortune. Substantial, powerful, easy, he
shone as with a glorious cleanness, a supplied
and equipped and appointed sanity and
security ; aids to action that might have
figured a pair of very ample wings wide
THE OUTCRY 29
pinions for the present conveniently folded,
but that he would certainly on occasion agitate
for great efforts and spread for great flights.
These things would have made him quite an
admirable, even a worshipful, image of full-
blown life and character, had not the affirma-
tion and the emphasis halted in one important
particular. Fortune, felicity, nature, the
perverse or interfering old fairy at his
cradle-side whatever the ministering power
might have been had simply overlooked and
neglected his vast wholly-shaven face, which
thus showed not so much for perfunctorily
scamped as for not treated, as for neither
formed nor fondled nor finished, at all.
Nothing seemed to have been done for
it but what the razor and the sponge,
the tooth-brush and the looking-glass could
officiously do ; it had in short resisted any
possibly finer attrition at the hands of fifty
years of offered experience. It had developed
on the lines, if lines they could be called, of
the mere scoured and polished and initialled
" mug " rather than to any effect of a composed
physiognomy ; though we must at the same
time add that its wearer carried this feature-
30 THE OUTCRY
less disk as with the warranted confidence that
might have attended a warning headlight or a
glaring motor-lamp. The object, however one
named it, showed you at least where he was,
and most often that he was straight upon you.
It was fearlessly and resistingly across the
path of his advance that Lady Sandgate had
thrown herself, and indeed with such success
that he soon connected her demonstration
with a particular motive. " For your grand-
mother, Lady Sandgate ? " he then re-
" For my grandmother's mother, Mr. Bender
the most beautiful woman of her time and
the greatest of all Lawrences, no matter
whose ; as you quite acknowledged, you know,
in our talk in Bruton Street."
Mr. Bender bethought himself further yet
drawing it out ; as if the familiar fact of his
being "made up to" had never had such
special softness and warmth of pressure. " Do
you want very, very much ? "
She had already caught him up. " ' Very,
very much' for her? Well, Mr. Bender," she
smilingly replied, " I think I should like her
THE OUTCRY 31
" I mean" he kindly discriminated "do
you want so badly to work her off ? "
"It would be an intense convenience to me
so much so that your telegram made me at
once fondly hope you'd be arriving to conclude."
Such measure of response as he had good-
naturedly given her was the mere frayed edge
of a mastering detachment, the copious,
impatient range elsewhere of his true attention.
Somehow, however, he still seemed kind even
while, turning his back upon her, he moved off
to look at one of the several, the famous
Dedborough pictures stray specimens, by
every presumption, lost a little in the whole
bright bigness. " ' Conclude ' ? " he echoed
as he approached a significantly small canvas.
" You ladies want to get there before the road's
so much as laid or the country's safe ! Do
you know what this here is ? " he at once went
"Oh, you can't have that!" she cried as
with full authority "and you must really
understand that you can't have everything.
You mustn't expect to ravage Dedborough."
He had his nose meanwhile close to the
picture. " I guess it's a bogus Cuyp but I
32 THE OUTCRY
know Lord Theign has things. He won't do
business ? "
" He's not in the least, and can never be, in
my tight place," Lady Sandgate replied; "but
he's as proud as he's kind, dear man, and as
solid as he's proud ; so that if you came down
under a different impression !" Well, she
could only exhale the folly of his error with an
unction that represented, whatever he might
think of it, all her competence to answer for
He scarce thought of it enough, on any side,
however, to be diverted from prior dispositions.
" 1 came on an understanding that I should
find my friend Lord John, and that Lord
Theign would, on his introduction, kindly let
me look round. But being before lunch in
Bruton Street I knocked at your door "
" For another look," she quickly interposed,
" at my Lawrence ? "
" For another look at you, Lady Sandgate
your great-grandmother wasn't required.
Informed you were here, and struck with the
coincidence of my being myself presently due,"
he went on, " I despatched you my wire, on
coming away, just to keep up your spirits."
THE OUTCRY 33
" You dorit keep them up, you depress them
to anguish," she almost passionately protested,
" when you don't tell me you'll treat ! "
He paused in his preoccupation, his per-
ambulation, conscious evidently of no reluct-
ance that was worth a scene with so charming
and so hungry a woman. "Well, if it's a
question of your otherwise suffering torments,
may I have another interview with the old
" Dear Mr. Bender, she's in the flower of her
youth ; she only yearns for interviews, and you
may have," Lady Sandgate earnestly declared,
"as many as you like."
" Oh, you must be there to protect me ! "
" Then as soon as I return ! "
"Well," it clearly cost him little to say
"I'll come right round."
She joyously registered the vow. "Only
meanwhile then, please, never a word ! "
" Never a word, certainly. But where all
this time," Mr. Bender asked, "is Lord John?"
Lady Sandgate, as he spoke, found her eyes
meeting those of a young woman who, present-
ing herself from without, stood framed in the
doorway to the terrace ; a slight fair grave
34 THE OUTCRY
young woman, of middle stature and simply
dressed, whose brow showed clear even under
the heavy shade of a large hat surmounted with
big black bows and feathers. Her eyes had
vaguely questioned those of her elder, who at
once replied to the gentleman forming the
subject of their inquiry: " Lady Grace must
know." At this the young woman came for-
ward, and Lady Sandgate introduced the
visitor. " My dear Grace, this is Mr. Brecken-
The younger daughter of the house might
have arrived in preoccupation, but she had
urbanity to spare. " Of whom Lord John has
told me," she returned, "and whom I'm glad
to see. Lord John," she explained to his
waiting friend, " is detained a moment in the
park, open to-day to a big Temperance school-
feast, where our party is mostly gathered ; so
that if you care to go out ! " She gave him
in fine his choice.
But this was clearly a thing that, in the
conditions, Mr. Bender wasn't the man to take
precipitately ; though his big useful smile dis-
guised his prudence. "Are there any pictures
in the park ? "
THE OUTCRY 35
Lady Grace's facial response represented
less humour perhaps, but more play. " We
find our park itself rather a picture."
Mr. Bender's own levity at any rate persisted.
11 With a big Temperance school-feast ? "
" Mr. Bender's a great judge of pictures,"
Lady Sandgate said as to forestall any impres-
sion of excessive freedom.
"Will there be more tea?" he pursued,
almost presuming on this.
It showed Lady Grace for comparatively
candid and literal. "Oh, there'll be plenty of
This appeared to determine Mr. Bender.
"Well, Lady Grace, I'm after pictures, but I
take them 'neat.' May I go right round
here ? "
" Perhaps, love," Lady Sandgate at once
said, "you'll let me show him."
"A moment, dear" Lady Grace gently
demurred. "Do go round," she conformably
added to Mr. Bender; "take your ease and
your time. Everything's open and visible,
and, with our whole company dispersed, you'll
have the place to yourself."
He rose, in his genial mass, to the oppor-
36 THE OUTCRY
tunity. "I'll be in clover sure!" But
present to him was the richest corner of the
pasture, which he could fluently enough name.
"And I'll find 'The Beautiful Duchess of
She indicated, off to the right, where a
stately perspective opened, the quarter of the
saloon to which we have seen Mr. Banks retire.
" At the very end of those rooms."
He had wide eyes for the vista. " About
thirty in a row, hey ? " And he was already
off. "I'll work right through ! "
LEFT with her friend, Lady Grace had a
prompt question. " Lord John warned me he
was ' funny ' ; but you already know him ? "
There might have been a sense of embarrass-
ment in the way in which, as to gain time,
Lady Sandgate pointed, instead of answering,
to the small picture pronounced upon by Mr.
Bender. " He thinks your little Cuyp a
THE OUTCRY 37
" That one ? " Lady Grace could but stare.
" The wretch ! " However, she made, without
alarm, no more of it ; she returned to her
previous question. " You've met him before ? "
"Just a little in town. Being 'after
pictures,' " Lady Sandgate explained, " he has
been after my great -grand mother."
"She," said Lady Grace with amusement,
"must have found him funny! But he can
clearly take care of himself, while Kitty takes
care of Lord John, and while you, if you'll be
so good, go back to support father in the
hour of his triumph : which he wants you so
much to witness that he complains of your
desertion and goes so far as to speak of you as
Lady Sandgate, with a slight flush, turned it
over. " I delight in his triumph, and whatever
I do is at least above board ; but if it's a
question of support aren't you yourself failing
him quite as much ? "
This had, however, no effect on the girl's
confidence. "Ah, my dear, I'm not at all the
same thing, and as I'm the person in the world
he least misses " Well, such a fact spoke
38 THE OUTCRY
" You've been free to return and wait for
Lord John ? " that was the sense in which
the elder woman appeared to prefer to under-
stand it as speaking.
The tone of it, none the less, led her com-
panion immediately, though very quietly, to
correct her. "I've not come back to wait for
"Then he hasn't told you if you've talked
with what idea he has come ? "
Lady Grace had for a further correction the
same shade of detachment. " Kitty has told
me what it suits her to pretend to suppose."
" And Kitty's pretensions and suppositions
always go with what happens at the moment,
among all her wonderful happenings to suit
Lady Grace let that question answer itself
she took the case up further on. " What I can't
make out is why this should so suit her ! "
"And what / can't!" said Lady Sandgate
without gross honesty and turning away after
having watched the girl a moment. She never-
theless presently faced her again to follow this
speculation up. " Do you like him enough to
risk the chance of Kitty's being for once right ? "
THE OUTCRY 39
Lady Grace gave it a thought with which
she moved away. " I don't know how much
I like him!"
" Nor how little ! " cried her friend, who evi-
dently found amusement in the tone of it.
" And you're not disposed to take the time to
find out? He's at least better than the
"The ' others '? "Lady Grace was blank
"The others of his set."
" Oh, his set ! Tha* wouldn't be difficult
by what I imagine of some of them. But he
means well enough," the girl added; "he's
very charming and does me great honour."
It determined in her companion, about to
leave her, another brief arrest. "Then may
I tell your father ? "
This in turn brought about in Lady Grace
an immediate drop of the subject. "Tell my
father, please, that I'm expecting Mr. Crimble ;
of whom I've spoken to him even if he doesn't
remember, and who bicycles this afternoon ten
miles over from where he's staying with some
people we don't know to look at the pictures,
about which he's awfully keen."
40 THE OUTCRY
Lady Sandgate took it in. " Ah, like Mr.
"No, not at all, I think, like Mr. Bender/'
This appeared to move in the elder woman
some deeper thought. " May I ask then if
one's to meet him who he is ? "
" Oh, father knows or ought to that I sat
next him, in London, a month ago, at dinner,
and that he then told me he was working, tooth
and nail, at what he called the wonderful
modern science of Connoisseurship which is
upsetting, as perhaps you're not aware, all the
old-fashioned canons of art-criticism, every-
thing we've stupidly thought right and held
dear ; that he was to spend Easter in these
parts, and that he should like greatly to be
allowed some day to come over and make
acquaintance with our things. I told him,"
Lady Grace wound up, " that nothing would
be easier ; a note from him arrived before
Lady Sandgate jumped the rest. " And it's
for him you've come in."
" It's for him I've come in," the girl assented
" Very good though he sounds most detri-
THE OUTCRY 41
mental ! But will you first just tell me this
whether when you sent in ten minutes ago for
Lord John to come out to you it was wholly of
your own movement ? " And she followed it
up as her young friend appeared to hesitate.
"Was it because you knew why he had
arrived ? "
The young friend hesitated still. " ' Why ' ? "
" So particularly to speak to you."
" Since he was expected and mightn't know
where I was," Lady Grace said after an instant,
" I wanted naturally to be civil to him."
"And had he time there to tell you," Lady
Sandgate asked, "how very civil he wants to
be to you ? "
"No, only to tell me that his friend who's
off there was coming; for Kitty at once
appropriated him and was still in possession
when I came away." Then, as deciding at
last on perfect frankness, Lady Grace went on :
"If you want to know, I sent for news of him
because Kitty insisted on my doing so ; saying,
so very oddly and quite in her own way, that
she herself didn't wish to 'appear in it.' She
had done nothing but say to me for an hour,
rather worryingly, what you've just said that
42 THE OUTCRY
it's me he's what, like Mr. Bender, she calls
' after ' ; but as soon as he appeared she pounced
on him, and I left him I assure you quite
resignedly in her hands."
" She wants " it was easy for Lady Sand-
gate to remark "to talk of you to him."
" I don't know wkat she wants," the girl
replied as with rather a tired patience ; " Kitty
wants so many things at once. She always
wants money, in quantities, to begin with and
all to throw so horribly away ; so that when-
ever I see her ' in ' so very deep with any one
I always imagine her appealing for some new
tip as to how it's to be come by."
" Kitty's an abyss, I grant you, and with my
disinterested devotion to your father in re-
quital of all his kindness to me since Lord
Sandgate's death and since your mother's I
can never be too grateful to you, my dear, for
your being so different a creature. But what
is she going to gain financially," Lady Sand-
gate pursued with a strong emphasis on her
adverb, " by working up our friend's confidence
in your listening to him if you are to listen ? "
" I haven't in the least engaged to listen,"
said Lady Grace "it will depend on the
THE OUTCRY 43
music he makes ! " But she added with light
cynicism : " Perhaps she's to gain a com-
mission ! "
"On his fairly getting you?" And then
as the girl assented by silence : " Is he in a
position to pay her one ? " Lady Sandgate
" I dare say the Duchess is ! "
" But do you see the Duchess producing
money with all that Kitty, as we're not
ignorant, owes her ? Hundreds and hundreds
and hundreds ! " Lady Sandgate piled them
Her young friend's gesture checked it.
"Ah, don't tell me how many it's too sad
and too ugly and too wrong ! " To which,
however, Lady Grace added : " But perhaps
that will be just her way ! " And then as her
companion seemed for the moment not quite to
follow : " By letting Kitty off her debt."
" You mean that Kitty goes free if Lord
John wins your promise ? "
11 Kitty goes free."
" She has her creditor's release ? "
4< For every shilling."
" And if he only fails ? "
44 THE OUTCRY
"Why then of course," said now quite lucid
Lady Grace, "she throws herself more than
ever on poor father."
11 Poor father indeed ! " Lady Sandgate
richly sighed it.
It appeared even to create in the younger
woman a sense of excess. " Yes but he after
all and in spite of everything adores her."
" To the point, you mean " for Lady Sand-
gate could clearly but wonder " of really
sacrificing you ? "
The weight of Lady Grace's charming deep
eyes on her face made her pause while, at some
length, she gave back this look and the inter-
change determined in the girl a grave appeal.
"You think I should be sacrificed if I married
him ? "
Lady Sandgate replied, though with an
equal emphasis, indirectly. " Could you marry
Lady Grace waited a moment. " Do you
mean for Kitty ? "
"For himself even if they should convince
you, among them, that he cares for you."
Lady Grace had another delay. "Well,
he's his awful mother's son."
THE OUTCRY 45
" Yes but you wouldn't marry his mother/'
" No but I should only be the more
uncomfortably and intimately conscious of
" Even when," Lady Sandgate optimistically
put it, "she so markedly likes you?"
This determined in the girl a fine impatience.
"She doesn't 'like' me, she only wants me
which is a very different thing ; wants me for
my father's so particularly beautiful position,
and my mother's so supremely great people,
and for everything we have been and have
done, and still are and still have : except of
course poor not-at-all-model Kitty."
To this luminous account of the matter Lady
Sandgate turned as to a genial sun-burst. " I
see indeed for the general immaculate con-
The words had no note of irony, but Lady
Grace, in her great seriousness, glanced with
deprecation at the possibility. "Well, we
haven t had false notes. We've scarcely even
had bad moments."
"Yes, you've been beatific!" Lady Sand-
gate enviously, quite ruefully, felt it. But any
further treatment of the question was checked
46 THE OUTCRY
by the re-entrance of the footman a demon-
stration explained by the concomitant appear-
ance of a young man in eye-glasses and with
the ends of his trousers clipped together as for
cycling. " This must be your friend/' she had
only time to say to the daughter of the house ;
with which, alert and reminded of how she was
awaited elsewhere, she retreated before her
companion's visitor, who had come in with his
guide from the vestibule. She passed away
to the terrace and the gardens, Mr. Hugh
Crimble's announced name ringing in her ears
to some effect that we are as yet not qualified
LADY GRACE had turned to meet Mr. Hugh
Crimble, whose pleasure in at once finding her
lighted his keen countenance and broke into
easy words. " So awfully kind of you in the
midst of the great doings I noticed to have
found a beautiful minute for me."
" I left the great doings, which are almost
over, to every one's relief, I think," the girl
THE OUTCRY 47
returned, " so that your precious time shouldn't
be taken to hunt for me."
It was clearly for him, on this bright answer,
as if her white hand were holding out the per-
fect flower of felicity. " You came in from
your revels on purpose with the same charity
you showed me from that first moment ? "
They stood smiling at each other as in an
exchange of sympathy already confessed and
even as if finding that their relation had grown
during the lapse of contact ; she recognising
the effect of what they had originally felt as
bravely as he might name it. What the fine,
slightly long oval of her essentially quiet face
quiet in spite of certain vague depths of reference
to forces of the strong high order, forces
involved and implanted, yet also rather spent
in the process kept in range from under her
redundant black hat was the strength of
expression, the directness of communication,
that her guest appeared to borrow from the
unframed and unattached nippers unceasingly
perched, by their mere ground-glass rims, as
she remembered, on the bony bridge of his
indescribably authoritative (since it was at the
same time decidedly inquisitive) young nose.
48 THE OUTCRY
She must, however, also have embraced in this
contemplation, she must more or less again have
interpreted, his main physiognomic mark, the
degree to which his clean jaw was underhung
and his lower lip protruded ; a lapse of regularity
made evident by a suppression of beard and
moustache as complete as that practised by Mr.
Bender though without the appearance con-
sequent in the latter's case, that of the flagrantly
vain appeal in the countenance for some other
exhibition of a history, of a process of pro-
duction, than this so superficial one. With the
interested and interesting girl sufficiently under
our attention while we thus try to evoke her,
we may even make out some wonder in her as
to why the so perceptibly protrusive lower lip
of this acquaintance of an hour or two should
positively have contributed to his being hand-
some instead of much more logically interfering
with it. We might in fact in such a case even
have followed her into another and no less
refined a speculation the question of whether
the surest seat of his good looks mightn't after
all be his high, fair, if somewhat narrow,
forehead, crowned with short crisp brown hair
and which, after a fashion of its own, pre-
THE OUTCRY 49
dominated without overhanging. He spoke
after they had stood just face to face almost
long enough for awkwardness. " I haven't
forgotten one item of your kindness to me on
that rather bleak occasion."
" Bleak do you call it ? " she laughed. " Why
I found it, rather, tropical ' lush.' My neigh-
bour on the other side wanted to talk to me of
the White City."
" Then you made it doubtless bleak for him,
let us say. / couldn't let you alone, I remember,
about tkis\\. was like a shipwrecked signal
to a sail on the horizon." "This" obviously
meant for the young man exactly what
surrounded him ; he had begun, like Mr.
Bender, to be conscious of a thick solicitation
of the eye and much more than he, doubtless,
of a tug at the imagination ; and he broke
characteristically, you would have been sure
into a great free gaiety of recognition.
"Oh, we've nothing particular in the hall,"
Lady Grace amiably objected.
" Nothing, I see, but Claudes and Cuyps !
I'm an ogre," he said " before a new and rare
feast ! "
She happily took up his figure. "Then
50 THE OUTCKY
won't you begin as a first course with tea after
your ride ? If the other, that is for there has
been an ogre before you has left any."
"Some tea, with pleasure" he looked all
his longing ; " though when you talk of a
fellow-feaster I should have supposed that, on
such a day as this especially, you'd find your-
selves running a continuous table d'hote"
"Ah, we can't work sports in our gallery
and saloon the banging or whacking and
shoving amusements that are all most people
care for; unless, perhaps," Lady Grace went
on, "your own peculiar one, as I understand
you, of playing football with the old benighted
traditions and attributions you everywhere
meet : in fact I think you said the old idiotic
Hugh Crimble went more than half-way to
meet this description of his fondest activity ;
he indeed even beckoned it on. " The names
and stories and styles the so often vain
legend, not to be too invidious of author or
subject or school ? " But he had a drop, no
less, as from the sense of a cause sometimes
lost. "Ah, that's a game at which we #//can
play ! "
THE OUTCRY 51
"Though scarcely," Lady Grace suggested,
"at which we all can score."
The words appeared indeed to take meaning
from his growing impression of the place and
its charm of the number of objects, treasures
of art, that pressed for appreciation of their
importance. " Certainly," he said, "no one
can ever have scored much on sacred spots
of this order which express so the grand
impunity of their pride, their claims, their
assurance ! "
"We've had great luck," she granted "as
I've just been reminded ; but ever since those
terrible things you told me in town about the
tremendous tricks of the whirligig of time and
the aesthetic fools' paradise in which so many
of us live I've gone about with my heart in
my mouth. Who knows that while I talk Mr.
Bender mayn't be pulling us to pieces ? "
Hugh Crimble had a shudder of remem-
brance. " Mr. Bender ? "
"The rich American who's going round."
It gave him a sharper shock. " The wretch
who bagged Lady Lappington's Longhi ? "
Lady Grace showed surprise. " Is he a
wretch ? "
52 THE OUTCRY
Her visitor but asked to be extravagant.
" Rather the scoundrel. He offered his
infernal eight thousand down."
" Oh, I thought you meant he had played
some trick ! "
" I wish he had he could then have been
"Well," Lady Grace peacefully smiled, "it's
no use his offering us eight thousand or
eighteen or even eighty ! "
Hugh Crimble stared as at the odd super-
fluity of this reassurance, almost crude on
exquisite lips and contradicting an imputation
no one would indecently have made. ' ' Gracious
goodness, I hope not ! The man surely doesn't
suppose you'd traffic."
She might, while she still smiled at him,
have been fairly enjoying the friendly horror
she produced. " I don't quite know what he
supposes. But people have trafficked ; people
do ; people are trafficking all round."
"Ah," Hugh Crimble cried, "that's what
deprives me of my rest and, as a lover of our
vast and beneficent art-wealth, poisons my
waking hours. That art-wealth is at the
mercy of a leak there appears no means of
THE OUTCRY 53
stopping." She had tapped a spring in him,
clearly, and the consequent flood might almost
at any moment become copious. " Precious
things are going out of our distracted country
at a quicker rate than the very quickest a
century and more ago of their ever coming
She was sharply struck, but was also unmis-
takably a person in whom stirred thought soon
found connections and relations. "Well, I
suppose our art-wealth came in save for those
awkward Elgin Marbles ! mainly by purchase
too, didn't it ? We ourselves largely took it
away from somewhere, didn't we ? We didn't
grow it all."
" We grew some of the loveliest flowers
and on the whole to-day the most exposed."
He had been pulled up but for an instant.
" Great Gainsboroughs and Sir Joshuas and
Romneys and Sargents, great Turners and
Constables and old Cromes and Brabazons,
form, you'll recognise, a vast garden in them-
selves. What have we ever for instance more
successfully grown than your splendid * Duchess
of Waterbridge ' ? "
The girl showed herself ready at once to
54 THE OUTCRY
recognise under his eloquence anything he
would. "Yes it's our Sir Joshua, I believe,
that Mr. Bender has proclaimed himself par-
It brought a cloud to her friend's face.
"Then he'll be capable of anything."
"Of anything, no doubt, but of making my
father capable ! And you haven't at any
rate," she said, "so much as seen the picture."
" I beg your pardon I saw it at the Guild-
hall three years ago ; and am almost afraid of
getting again, with a fresh sense of its beauty,
a livelier sense of its danger."
Lady Grace, however, was so far from fear
that she could even afford pity. " Poor baffled
Mr. Bender ! "
"Oh, rich and confident Mr. Bender!"
Crimble cried. "Once given his money, his
confidence is a horrid engine in itself there's
the rub ! I dare say " the young man saw it
all he has brought his poisonous cheque."
She gave it her less exasperated wonder.
"One has heard of that, but only in the case
of some particularly pushing dealer."
" And Mr. Bender, to do him justice, isn't a
particularly pushing dealer ? "
THE OUTCRY 55
" No," Lady Grace judiciously returned ; " I
think he's not a dealer at all, but just what you
a moment ago spoke of yourself as being."
He gave a glance at his possibly wild recent
past. " A fond true lover ? "
" As we all were in our lucky time when
we rummaged Italy and Spain."
He appeared to recognise this complication
of Bender's voracious integrity ; but only to
push it away. "Well, I don't know whether
the best lovers are, or ever were, the best
buyers but I feel to-day that they're the best
The breath of his emphasis blew, as her eyes
showed, on the girl's dimmer fire. " It's as if
it were suddenly in the air that you've brought
us some light or some help that you may do
something really good for us."
" Do you mean 'mark down,' as they say at
the shops, all your greatest claims ? "
His chord of sensibility had trembled all
gratefully into derision, and not to seem to
swagger he had put his possible virtue at its
lowest. This she beautifully showed that she
beautifully saw. " I dare say that if you did
even that we should have to take it from you."
56 THE OUTCRY
"Then it may very well be," he laughed
back, "the reason why I feel, under my de-
lightful, wonderful impression, a bit anxious
and nervous and afraid."
"That shows," she returned, "that you
suspect us of horrors hiding from justice, and
that your natural kindness yet shrinks from
handing us over ! "
Well, clearly, she might put it as she liked
it all came back to his being more charmed.
" Heaven knows I've wanted a chance at you,
but what should you say if, having then at last
just taken you in in your so apparent perfection,
I should feel it the better part of valour simply
to mount my * bike ' again and spin away ? "
" I should be sure that at the end of the
avenue you'd turn right round and come back.
You'd think again of Mr. Bender."
" Whom I don't, however, you see if he's
prowling off there in the least want to meet."
Crimble made the point with gaiety. " I don't
know what I mightn't do to him and yet it's
not of my temptation to violence, after all, that
I'm most afraid. It's of the brutal mistake of
one's breaking with one's priggish, precious
modernity and one's possibly futile discrimina-
THE OUTCRY 57
tions into a general situation or composition,
as we say, so serene and sound and right.
What should one do here, out of respect for
that felicity, but hold one's breath and walk on
tip-toe ? The very celebrations and consecra-
tions, as you tell me, instinctively stay outside.
I saw that all," the young man went on with
more weight in his ardour, " I saw it, while we
talked in London, as your natural setting and
your native air and now ten minutes on the
spot have made it sink into my spirit. You're
a case, all together, of enchanted harmony, of
perfect equilibrium there's nothing to be done
His friend listened to this eloquence with
her eyes lowered, then raising them to meet,
with a vague insistence, his own ; after which
something she had seen there appeared to de-
termine in her another motion. She indicated
the small landscape that Mr. Bender had, by
Lady Sandgate's report, rapidly studied and
denounced. " For what do you take that
little picture ? "
Hugh Crimble went over and looked.
"Why, don't you know? It's a jolly little
Vandermeer of Delft."
58 THE OUTCRY
" It's not a base imitation ? "
He looked again, but appeared at a loss.
* An imitation of Vandermeer ? "
" Mr. Bender thinks of Cuyp."
It made the young man ring out: "Then
Mr. Bender's doubly dangerous ! "
' ' Singly is enough!" Lady Grace laughed.
" But you see you have to speak."
" Oh, to him, rather, after that if you'll just
take me to him."
"Yes then," she said; but even while she
spoke Lord John, who had returned, by the
terrace, from his quarter of an hour passed with
Lady Imber, was there practically between
them ; a fact that she had to notice for her
other visitor, to whom she was hastily reduced
to naming him.
His lordship eagerly made the most of this
tribute of her attention, which had reached his
ear ; he treated it her " Oh Lord John ! " as
a direct greeting. " Ah Lady Grace! I came
back particularly to find you."
She could but explain her predicament. " I
was taking Mr. Crimble to see the pictures."
And then more pointedly, as her manner had
been virtually an introduction of that gentle-
THE OUTCRY 59
man, an introduction which Lord John's mere
noncommittal stare was as little as possible a
response to : " Mr. Crimble's one of the quite
"Oh, I'm at the very lowest round of the
ladder. But I aspire ! " Hugh laughed.
" You'll mount ! " said Lady Grace with
He took it again with gay deprecation.
" Ah, if by that time there's anything left here
to mount on ! "
" Let us hope there will be at least what Mr.
Bender, poor man, won't have been able to
carry off." To which Lady Grace added, as
to strike a helpful spark from the personage
who had just joined them, but who had the
air of wishing to preserve his detachment :
"It's to Lord John that we owe Mr. Bender's
Hugh looked at the gentleman to whom
they were so indebted. " Then do you happen
to know, sir, what your friend means to do with
his spoil ? "
The question got itself but dryly treated, as
if it might be a commercially calculating or
interested one. " Oh, not sell it again."
60 THE OUTCRY
" Then ship it to New York ? " the inquirer
pursued, defining himself somehow as not
snubbed and, from this point, not snubbable.
That appearance failed none the less to
deprive Lord John of a betrayed relish for
being able to displease Lady Grace's odd guest
by large assent. " As fast as ever he can
and you can land things there now, can't you ?
in three or four days."
" I dare say. But can't he be induced to
have a little mercy ? " Hugh sturdily pursued.
Lord John pushed out his lips. " A ' little ' ?
How much do you want ? "
" Well, one wants to be able somehow to
stay his hand."
" I doubt if you can any more stay Mr
Bender's hand than you can empty his
"Ah, the Despoilers!" said Crimble with
strong expression. " But it's we" he added,
" who are base."
"'Base'?" and Lord John's surprise was
"To want only to 'do business,' I mean,
with our treasures, with our glories."
Hugh's words exhaled such a sense of peril
THE OUTCRY 61
as to draw at once Lady Grace. " Ah, but if
we're above that here, as you know ! "
He stood smilingly corrected and contrite.
41 Of course I know but you must forgive me
if I have it on the brain. And show me first
of all, won't you ? the Moretto of Brescia."
" You know then about the Moretto of
"Why, didn't you tell me yourself?" It
went on between them for the moment quite
as if there had been no Lord John.
"Probably, yes," she recalled; "so how I
must have swaggered ! " After which she
turned to the other visitor with a kindness
strained clear of urgency. "Will you also
come ? "
He confessed to a difficulty which his
whole face begged her also to take account of.
" I hoped you'd be at leisure for something
I've so at heart!"
This had its effect ; she took a rapid de-
cision and turned persuasively to Crimble for
whom, in like manner, there must have been
something in ^rface. " Let Mr. Bender him-
self then show you. And there are things in
the library too."
62 THE OUTCRY
"Oh yes, there are things in the library."
Lord John, happy in his gained advantage
and addressing Hugh from the strong ground
of an initiation already complete, quite sped
him on the way.
Hugh clearly made no attempt to veil the
penetration with which he was moved to look
from one of these counsellors to the other,
though with a ready "Thank you!" for Lady
Grace he the next instant started in pursuit of
"YouR friend seems remarkably hot!" Lord
John remarked to his young hostess as soon
as they had been left together.
" He has cycled twenty miles. And indeed,"
she smiled, "he does appear to care for what
he cares for ! "
Her companion then, during a moment's
silence, might have been noting the emphasis
of her assent. " Have you known him long ? "
" No not long."
"Nor seen him often ? "
THE OUTCRY 63
" Only once till now."
" Oh ! " said Lord John with another pause.
But he soon proceeded. " Let us leave him
then to cool ! I haven't cycled twenty miles,
but I've motored forty very much in the hope
of this, Lady Grace the chance of being able
to assure you that I too care very much for
what I care for." To which he added on an
easier note, as to carry off a slight awkward-
ness while she only waited : " You certainly
mustn't let yourself between us all be worked
"Oh, such days as this !" She made
light enough of her burden.
" They don't come often to me at least,
Lady Grace ! I hadn't grasped in advance
the scale of your feast," he went on; "but
since I've the great luck to find you alone ! "
He paused for breath, however, before the
She helped him out as through common
kindness, but it was a trifle colourless.
"Alone or in company, Lord John, I'm
always very glad to see you."
"Then that assurance helps me to wonder
if you don't perhaps gently guess what it is
64 THE OUTCRY
I want to say." This time indeed she left
him to his wonder, so that he had to support
himself. "I've tried, all considerately these
three months to let you see for yourself how
I feel. I feel very strongly, Lady Grace ; so
that at last " and his impatient sincerity took
after another instant the jump ''well, I
regularly worship you. You're my absolute
ideal. I think of you the whole time."
She measured out consideration as if it had
been a yard of pretty ribbon. "Are you sure
you know me enough ? "
" I think I know a perfect woman when I
see one ! " Nothing now at least could have
been more prompt, and while a decent pity for
such a mistake showed in her smile he followed
it up. " Isn't what you rather mean that you
haven't cared sufficiently to know me? If so,
that can be little by little mended, Lady Grace."
He was in fact altogether gallant about it.
"I'm aware of the limits of what I have to
show or to offer, but I defy you to find a limit
to my possible devotion."
She deferred to that, but taking it in a lower
key. " I believe you'd be very good to me."
"Well, isn't that something to start with?"
THE OUTCRY 65
he fairly pounced on it. "I'll do any blest
thing in life you like, I'll accept any condition
you impose, if you'll only tell me you see your
"Shouldn't I have a little more first to see
yours ? " she asked. " When you say you'll do
anything in life I like, isn't there anything you
yourself want strongly enough to do ? "
He cast a stare about on the suggestions of
the scene. " Anything that will make money,
you mean ? "
" Make money or make reputation or even
just make the time pass."
" Oh, what I have to look to in the way of a
career?" If that was her meaning he could
show after an instant that he didn't fear it.
' 'Well, your father, dear delightful man, has
been so good as to give me to understand that
he backs me for a decent deserving creature ;
and I've noticed, as you doubtless yourself
have, that when Lord Theign backs a
He left the obvious moral for her to take up
which she did, but all interrogatively. " The
fellow at once comes in for something awfully
good ? "
66 THE OUTCRY
" I don't in the least mind your laughing at
me," Lord John returned, "for when I put him
the question of the lift he'd give me by speaking
to you first he bade me simply remember the
complete personal liberty in which he leaves
you, and yet which doesn't come take my
word!" said the young man sagely "from
his being at all indifferent."
"No," she answered "father isn't in-
different. But father's 'great.'"
" Great indeed ! " her friend took it as with
full comprehension. This appeared not to
prevent, however, a second and more anxious
thought. " Too great for you ? "
"Well, he makes me feel even as his
daughter my extreme comparative smallness."
It was easy, Lord John indicated, to see
what she meant. " He's a grand seigneur, and
a serious one that's what he is : the very type
and model of it, down to the ground. So you
can imagine," said this observer, "what he
makes me feel most of all when he's so
awfully good-natured to me. His being as
' great ' as you say and yet backing me such
as I am! doesn't that strike you as a good
note for me, the best you could possibly
THE OUTCRY 67
require ? For he really would like what I
propose to you."
She might have been noting, while she
thought, that he had risen to ingenuity, to
fineness, on the wings of his argument ; under
the effect of which her reply had the air of a
concession. "Yes he would like it."
"Then he has spoken to you?" her suitor
"He hasn't needed he has ways of letting
"Yes, yes, he has ways; all his own like
everything else he has. He's wonderful."
She fully agreed. " He's wonderful."
The tone of it appeared somehow to shorten
at once for Lord John the rest of his approach
to a conclusion. " So you do see your way ? "
Ah ! " she said with a quick sad shrinkage.
" I mean," her visitor hastened to explain,
" if he does put it to you as the very best idea
he has for you. When he does that as I
believe him ready to do will you really and
fairly listen to him? I'm certain, honestly,
that when you know me better !" His con-
fidence in short donned a bravery.
"I've been feeling this quarter of an hour,"
68 THE OUTCRY
the girl returned, "that I do know you
"Then isn't that all I want? unless indeed
I ought perhaps to ask rather if it isn't all you
do ! At any rate," said Lord John, " I may see
you again here ? "
She waited a moment. "You must have
patience with me."
" I am having it. But after your father's
"Well," she said, "that must come first."
" Then you won't dodge it ? "
She looked at him straight. " I don't dodge,
He admired the manner of it. "You look
awfully handsome as you say so and you see
what that does to me." As to attenuate a little
the freedom of which he went on : " May I
fondly hope that if Lady Imber too should
wish to put in another word for me ? "
"Will I listen to her?" it brought Lady
Grace straight down. "No, Lord John, let
me tell you at once that I'll do nothing of the
sort. Kitty's quite another affair, and I never
listen to her a bit more than I can help."
Lord John appeared to feel, on this, that
THE OUTCRY 69
he mustn't too easily, in honour, abandon a
person who had presented herself to him as
an ally. "Ah, you strike me as a little
hard on her. Your father himself in his
looser moments! takes pleasure in what she
Our young woman's eyes, as they rested
on him after this remark, had no mercy for
its extreme feebleness. "If you mean that
she's the most reckless rattle one knows,
and that she never looks so beautiful as
when she's at her worst, and that, always
clever for where she makes out her interest,
she has learnt to ' get round ' him till he
only sees through her eyes if you mean that
I understand you perfectly. But even if you
think me horrid for reflecting so on my
nearest and dearest, it's not on the side on
which he has most confidence in his elder
daughter that his youngest is moved to have
most confidence in him."
Lord John stared as if she had shaken some
odd bright fluttering object in his face ; but
then recovering himself: "He hasn't perhaps
an absolutely boundless confidence "
"In any one in the world but himself?"
70 THE OUTCRY
she had taken him straight up. " He hasn't
indeed, and that's what we must come to ; so
that even if he likes you as much as you
doubtless very justly feel, it won't be because
you are right about your being nice, but
because he is ! "
"You mean that if I were wrong about it
he would still insist that he isn't ? "
Lady Grace was indeed sure. " Absolutely
if he had begun so! He began so with
Kitty that is with allowing her everything."
Lord John appeared struck. " Yes and he
still allows her two thousand."
" I'm glad to hear it she has never told me
how much ! " the girl undisguisedly smiled.
"Then perhaps I oughtn't!" he glowed
with the light of contrition.
" Well, you can't help it now," his companion
remarked with amusement.
" You mean that he ought to allow you as
much?" Lord John inquired. "I'm sure
you're right, and that he will," he continued
quite as in good faith; "but I want you to
understand that I don't care in the least what
it may be ! "
The subject of his suit took the longest look
THE OUTCRY 71
at him she had taken yet. " You're very good
to say so ! "
If this was ironic the touch fell short, thanks
to his perception that they had practically just
ceased to be alone. They were in presence
of a third figure, who had arrived from the
terrace, but whose approach to them was not
so immediate as to deprive Lord John of
time for another question. " Will you let
him tell you, at all events, how good he
thinks me ? and then let me come back and
have it from you again ? "
Lady Grace's answer to this was to turn, as he
drew nearer, to the person by whom they were
now joined. " Lord John desires you should
tell me, father, how good you think him."
"'Good,' my dear? good for what?" said
Lord Theign a trifle absurdly, but looking
from one of them to the other.
<% I feel I must ask him to tell you."
" Then I shall give him a chance as I
should particularly like you to go back and
deal with those overwhelming children."
"Ah, they don't overwhelm you, father! "
the girl put it with some point.
"If you mean to say I overwhelmed them>
72 THE OUTCRY
I dare say I did," he replied " from my view
of that vast collective gape of six hundred
painfully plain and perfectly expressionless
faces. But that was only for the time : I
pumped advice oh such advice ! and they
held the large bucket as still as my pet pointer,
when I scratch him, holds his back. The
bucket, under the stream "
"Was bound to overflow?" Lady Grace
"Well, the strong recoil of the wave of
intelligence has been not unnaturally followed
by the formidable break. You must really,"
Lord Theign insisted, "go and deal with it."
His daughter's smile, for all this, was
perceptibly cold. "You work people up, father,
and then leave others to let them down."
"The two things," he promptly replied,
"require different natures." To which he
simply added, as with the habit of authority,
though not of harshness, " Go ! "
It was absolute and she yielded ; only
pausing an instant to look as with a certain
gathered meaning from one of the men to the
other. Faintly and resignedly sighing she
passed away to the terrace and disappeared.
THE OUTCRY 73
" The nature that can let you down I
rather like it, you know!" Lord John threw
off. Which, for an airy elegance in them,
were perhaps just slightly rash words his
companion gave him so sharp a look as the
two were left together.
FACE to face with his visitor the master
of Dedborough betrayed the impression his
daughter appeared to have given him. " She
didn't want to go ? " And then before Lord
John could reply: "What the deuce is the
matter with her ? "
Lord John took his time. " I think perhaps
a little Mr. Crimble."
" And who the deuce is a little Mr. Crimble ? "
" A young man who was just with her and
whom she appears to have invited."
"Where is he then?" Lord Theign demanded.
"Off there among the pictures which he
seems partly to have come for."
" Oh ! "it made his lordship easier. " Then
he's all right on such a day."
74 THE OUTCRY
His companion could none the less just
wonder. " Hadn't Lady Grace told you ? "
" That he was coming ? Not that I
remember." But Lord Theign, perceptibly
preoccupied, made nothing of this. "We've
had other fish to fry, and you know the
freedom I allow her."
His friend had a vivid gesture. "My dear
man, I only ask to profit by it ! " With which
there might well have been in Lord John's face
a light of comment on the pretension in such
a quarter to allow freedom.
Yet it was a pretension that Lord Theign
sustained as to show himself far from all
bourgeois narrowness. "She has her friends
by the score at this time of day." There was
clearly a claim here also to know the time of
day. " But in the matter of friends where, by
the way, is your own of whom I've but just
"Oh, off there among the pictures too ; so
they'll have met and taken care of each other."
Accounting for this inquirer would be clearly
the least of Lord John's difficulties. " I mustn't
appear to Bender to have failed him ; but I
must at once let you know, before I join him,
THE OUTCRY 75
that, seizing my opportunity, I have just very
definitely, in fact very pressingly, spoken to
Lady Grace. It hasn't been perhaps," he
continued, " quite the pick of a chance; but
that seemed never to come, and if I'm not too
fondly mistaken, at any rate, she listened to
me without abhorrence. Only I've led her to
expect for our case that you'll be so good,
without loss of time, as to say the clinching
word to her yourself."
"Without loss, you mean, of a my
daughter's time ? " Lord Theign, confessedly
and amiably interested, had accepted these
intimations yet with the very blandness that
was not accessible to hustling and was never
forgetful of its standing privilege of criticism.
He had come in from his public duty, a few
minutes before, somewhat flushed and blown ;
but that had presently dropped to the effect,
we should have guessed, of his appearing to
Lord John at least as cool as the occasion
required. His appearance, we ourselves cer-
tainly should have felt, was in all respects
charming with the great note of it the beauti-
ful restless, almost suspicious challenge to you,
on the part of deep and mixed things in him,
76 THE OUTCRY
his pride and his shyness, his conscience, his
taste and his temper, to deny that he was
admirably simple. Obviously, at this rate,
he had a passion for simplicity simplicity,
above all, of relation with you, and would show
you, with the last subtlety of displeasure, his
impatience of your attempting anything more
with himself. With such an ideal of decent
ease he would, confound you, "sink" a hun-
dred other attributes or the recognition at
least and the formulation of them that you
might abjectly have taken for granted in him :
just to show you that in a beastly vulgar
age you had, and small wonder, a beastly vulgar
imagination. He sank thus, surely, in defiance
of insistent vulgarity, half his consciousness of
his advantages, flattering himself that mere
facility and amiability, a true effective, a posi-
tively ideal suppression of reference in any one
to anything that might complicate, alone
floated above. This would be quite his
religion, you might infer to cause his hands to
ignore in whatever contact any opportunity,
however convenient, for an unfair pull. Which
habit it was that must have produced in him a
sort of ripe and radiant fairness ; if it be allowed
THE OUTCRY 77
us, that is, to figure in so shining an air a
nobleman of fifty-three, of an undecided rather
than a certified frame or outline, of a head
thinly though neatly covered and not measure-
ably massive, of an almost trivial freshness, of
a face marked but by a fine inwrought line or
two and lighted by a merely charming expres-
sion. You might somehow have traced back
the whole character so presented to an ideal
privately invoked that of his establishing in
the formal garden of his suffered greatness such
easy seats and short perspectives, such winding
paths and natural-looking waters, as would
mercifully break up the scale. You would
perhaps indeed have reflected at the same time
that the thought of so much mercy was almost
more than anything else the thought of a great
option and a great margin in fine of fifty
alternatives. Which remarks of ours, however,
leave his lordship with his last immediate
question on his hands.
" Well, yes that, of course, in all propriety,"
his companion has meanwhile replied to it.
" But I was thinking a little, you understand,
of the importance of our own time."
Divinably Lord Theign put himself out less,
78 THE OUTCRY
as we may say, for the comparatively matter-of-
course haunters of his garden than for inter-
lopers even but slightly accredited. He seemed
thus not at all to strain to " understand " in this
particular connection it would be his familiarly
amusing friend Lord John, clearly, who must
do most of the work for him. " ' Our own ' in
the sense of yours and mine ? "
" Of yours and mine and Lady Imber's, yes
and a good bit, last not least, in that of my
watching and waiting mother's." This struck
no prompt spark of apprehension from his
listener, so that Lord John went on : " The
last thing she did this morning was to remind
me, with her fine old frankness, that she would
like to learn without more delay where, on the
whole question, she is, don't you know ? What
she put to me" the younger man felt his
ground a little, but proceeded further "what
she put to me, with her rather grand way of
looking all questions straight in the face, you
see, was : Do we or don't we, decidedly, take
up practically her very handsome offer ' very
handsome ' being, I mean, what she calls it ;
though it strikes even me too, you know, as
THE OUTCRY 79
Lord Theign at this point resigned himself
to know. " Kitty has of course rubbed into
me how decent she herself finds it. She
hurls herself again on me successfully! for
everything, and it suits her down to the
ground. She pays her beastly debt that is,
I mean to say," and he took himself up, though
it was scarce more than perfunctory, " dis-
charges her obligations by her sister's fair
hand ; not to mention a few other trifles for
which I naturally provide."
Lord John, a little unexpectedly to himself
on the defensive, was yet but briefly at a loss.
u Of course we take into account, don't we ?
not only the fact of my mother's desire
(intended, I assure you, to be most flattering)
that Lady Grace shall enter our family with
all honours, but her expressed readiness to
facilitate the thing by an understanding over
and above "
"Over and above Kitty's release from her
damnable payment ? " Lord Theign reached
out to what his guest had left rather in the air.
" Of course we take everything into account
or I shouldn't, my dear fellow, be discussing
with you at all a business one or two of whose
8o THE OUTCRY
aspects so little appeal to me : especially as
there's nothing, you easily conceive, that a
daughter of mine can come in for by entering
even your family, or any other (as a family)
that she wouldn't be quite as sure of by just
staying in her own. The Duchess's idea, at
any rate, if I've followed you, is that if Grace
does accept you she settles on you twelve
thousand ; with the condition "
Lord J ohn was already all there. ' ' Definitely,
yes, of your settling the equivalent on Lady
"And what do you call the equivalent of
twelve thousand ? "
" Why, tacked on to a value so great and so
charming as Lady Grace herself, I dare say
such a sum as nine or ten would serve."
" And where the mischief, if you please, at
this highly inconvenient time, am I to pick up
nine or ten thousand ? "
Lord John declined, with a smiling, a fairly
irritating eye for his friend's general resources,
to consider that question seriously. " Surely
you can have no difficulty whatever- ! "
"Why not? when you can see for yourself
that I've had this year to let poor dear old
THE OUTCRY 81
Hill Street! Do you call it the moment for
me to have liked to see myself all but cajoled
into planking down even such a matter as the
very much lower figure of Kitty's horrid
" Ah, but the inducement and the quid pro
quo" Lord John brightly indicated, "are here
much greater! In the case you speak of you
will only have removed the incubus which, I
grant you, she must and you must feel as
horrid. In this other you pacify Lady Imber
and marry Lady Grace : marry her to a man
who has set his heart on her and of whom she
has just expressed to himself a very kind
and very high opinion."
" She has expressed a very high opinion of
you ? " Lord Theign scarce glowed with
But the younger man held his ground.
" She has told me she thoroughly likes me
and that though a fellow feels an ass repeat-
ing such things she thinks me perfectly
"A tremendous creature, eh, all round?
Then," said Lord Theign, ''what does she
want more ? "
82 THE OUTCRY
" She very possibly wants nothing but I'm
to that beastly degree, you see," his visitor
patiently explained, "in the cleft stick of my
fearfully positive mother's wants. Those are
her 'terms/ and I don't mind saying that
they're most disagreeable to me I quite hate
'em : there ! Only I think it makes a jolly
difference that I wouldn't touch 'em with a
long pole if my personal feeling in respect to
Lady Grace wasn't so immensely enlisted."
" I assure you I'd chuck 'em out of window,
my boy, if I didn't believe you'd be really
good to her," Lord Theign returned with
the properest spirit.
It only encouraged his companion. "You
will just tell her then, now and here, how good
you honestly believe I shall be ? "
This appeal required a moment a longer
look at him. "You truly hold that that
friendly guarantee, backed by my parental
weight, will do your job ? "
"That's the conviction I entertain."
Lord Theign thought again. "Well, even
if your conviction's just, that still doesn't tell
me into which of my very empty pockets it
will be of the least use for me to fumble."
THE OUTCRY 83
" Oh," Lord John laughed, " when a man has
such a tremendous assortment of breeches ! "
He pulled up, however, as, in his motion, his
eye caught the great vista of the open rooms.
"If it's a question of pockets and what's in
'em here precisely is my man ! " This per-
sonage had come back from his tour of obser-
vation and was now, on the threshold of the
hall, exhibited to Lord Theign as well. Lord
John's welcome was warm. "I've had
awfully to fail you, Mr. Bender, but I was on
the point of joining you. Let me, however,
still better, introduce you to our host."
MR. BENDER indeed, formidably advancing,
scarce had use for this assistance. " Happy to
meet you especially in your beautiful home,
Lord Theign." To which he added while the
master of Dedborough stood good-humouredly
passive to his approach : "I've been round,
by your kind permission and the light of
nature, and haven't required support ; though
if I had there's a gentleman there who seemed
84 THE OUTCRY
prepared to allow me any amount." Mr.
Bender, out of his abundance, evoked as by a
suggestive hand this contributory figure. " A
young, spare, nervous gentleman with eye-
glasses I guess he's an author. A friend of
yours too ? " he asked of Lord John.
The answer was prompt and emphatic.
" No, the gentleman is no friend at all of mine,
" A friend of my daughter's," Lord Theign
easily explained. " I hope they're looking
" Oh, they took care he had tea and bread
and butter to any extent ; and were so good as
to move something," Mr. Bender conscientiously
added, " so that he could get up on a chair and
see straight into the Moretto."
This was a touch, however, that appeared to
affect Lord John unfavourably. " Up on a
chair ? I say ! "
Mr. Bender took another view. " Why, I
got right up myself a little more and I'd
almost have begun to paw it! He got me
quite interested " the proprietor of the picture
would perhaps care to know "in that
Moretto." And it was on these lines that Mr.
THE OUTCRY 85
Bender continued to advance. " I take it that
your biggest value, however, Lord Theign, is
your splendid Sir Joshua. Our friend there
has a great deal to say about that too but it
didn't lead to our moving any more furniture.'*
On which he paused as to enjoy, with a show
of his fine teeth, his host's reassurance. "It
has yet, my impression of that picture, sir, led
to something else. Are you prepared, Lord
Theign, to entertain a proposition ? "
Lord Theign met Mr. Bender's eyes while
this inquirer left these few portentous words to
speak for themselves. " To the effect that I
part to you with ' The Beautiful Duchess of
Waterbridge ' ? No, Mr. Bender, such a pro-
position would leave me intensely cold."
Lord John had meanwhile had a more
headlong cry. " My dear Bender, 1 envy
you ! "
" I guess you don't envy me," his friend
serenely replied, "as much as I envy Lord
Theign." And then while Mr. Bender and the
latter continued to face each other searchingly
and firmly : " What I allude to is an overture
of a strong and simple stamp such as perhaps
would shed a softer light on the difficulties
86 THE OUTCRY
raised by association and attachment. I've
had some experience of first shocks, and I'd
be glad to meet you as man to man."
Mr. Bender was, quite clearly, all genial and
all sincere ; he intended no irony and used, con-
sciously, no great freedom. Lord Theign, not
less evidently, saw this, and it permitted him
amusement. "As rich man to poor man is
how I'm to understand it? For me to meet
you" he added, " I should have to be tempted
and I'm not even temptable. So there we
are," he blandly smiled.
His blandness appeared even for a moment
to set an example to Lord John. " ' The
Beautiful Duchess of Waterbridge,' Mr.
Bender, is a golden apple of one of those
great family trees of which respectable people
don't lop off the branches whose venerable
shade, in this garish and denuded age, they so
Mr. Bender looked at him as if he had cut
some irrelevant caper. "Then if they don't
sell their ancestors where in the world are all
the ancestors bought ? "
" Doesn't it for the moment sufficiently
answer your question," Lord Theign asked,
THE OUTCRY 87
" that they're definitely not bought at Ded-
borough ? "
"Why," said Mr. Bender with a wealthy
patience, " you talk as if it were my interest to
be reasonable which shows how little you
understand. I'd be ashamed with the lovely
ideas I have if I didn't make you kick."
And his sturdy smile for it all fairly proclaimed
his faith. "Well, I guess I can wait!"
This again in turn visibly affected Lord
John : marking the moment from which he,
in spite of his cultivated levity, allowed an
intenser and more sustained look to keep
straying toward their host. " Mr. Bender's
bound to have something ! "
It was even as if after a minute Lord Theign
had been reached by his friend's mute pressure.
"Something, Mr. Bender?" Lord John in-
It made their visitor rather sharply fix him.
" Why, have you an interest, Lord John ? "
This personage, though undisturbed by the
challenge, if such it was, referred it to Lord
Theign. " Do you authorise me to speak a
little as if I have an interest ? "
88 THE OUTCRY
Lord Theign gave the appeal and the
speaker a certain attention, and then ap-
peared rather sharply to turn away from them.
" My dear fellow, you may amuse yourself at
my expense as you like ! "
" Oh, I don't mean at your expense," Lord
John laughed " I mean at Mr. Bender's ! "
" Well, go ahead, Lord John," said that
gentleman, always easy, but always too, as you
would have felt, aware of everything "go
ahead, but don't sweetly hope to create in me
any desire that doesn't already exist in the
germ. The attempt has often been made, over
here has in fact been organised on a consider-
able scale ; but I guess I've got some peculiarity,
for it doesn't seem as if the thing could be
done. If the germ is there, on the other hand,"
Mr. Bender conceded, " it develops independ-
ently of all encouragement."
Lord John communicated again as in a par-
ticular sense with Lord Theign. " He thinks
I really mean to offer him something ! "
Lord Theign, who seemed to wish to adver-
tise a degree of detachment from the issue, or
from any other such, strolled off, in his restless-
ness, toward the door that opened to the
THE OUTCRY 89
terrace, only stopping on his way to light a
cigarette from a matchbox on a small table.
It was but after doing so that he made the
remark: " Ah, Mr. Bender may easily be too
much for you ! "
4 'That makes me the more sorry, sir," said
his visitor, " not to have been enough for you ! "
" I risk it, at any rate," Lord John went on
" I put you, Bender, the question of whether
you wouldn't 'love,' as you say, to acquire that
Mr. Bender's large face had a commensurate
gaze. " As I say? I haven't said anything of
"But you do 'love,' you know," Lord John
" I don't when I don't want to. I'm different
from most people I can love or not as I like.
The trouble with that Moretto," Mr. Bender
continued, "is that it ain't what I'm after."
His "after" had somehow, for the ear, the
vividness of a sharp whack on the resisting
surface of things, and was concerned doubtless
in Lord John's speaking again across to their
host. " The worst he can do for me, you see,
is to refuse it."
90 THE OUTCRY
Lord Theign, who practically had his back
turned and was fairly dandling about in his
impatience, tossed out to the terrace the cigar-
ette he had but just lighted. Yet he faced
round to reply. " It's the very first time in the
history of this house (a long one, Mr. Bender)
that a picture, or anything else in it, has been
offered ! "
It was not imperceptible that even if he
hadn't dropped Mr. Bender mightn't have been
markedly impressed. "Then it must be the
very first time such an offer has failed."
"Oh, it isn't that we in the least press it !"
Lord Theign quite naturally laughed.
"Ah, I beg your pardon I press it very
hard ! " And Lord John, as taking from his
face and manner a cue for further humorous
license, went so far as to emulate, though
sympathetically enough, their companion's native
form. " You don't mean to say you don't feel
the interest of that Moretto ? "
Mr. Bender, quietly confident, took his time
to reply. "Well, if you had seen me up on
that chair you'd have thought I did."
"Then you must have stepped down from
the chair properly impressed."
THE OUTCRY 91
" I stepped down quite impressed with that
" Mr. Crimble ?" it came after an instant to
Lord John. " With his opinion, really ? Then
I hope he's aware of the picture's value."
"You had better ask him," Mr. Bender
"Oh, we don't depend here on the Mr.
Crimbles ! " Lord John returned.
Mr. Bender took a longer look at him.
" Are you aware of the value yourself? "
His friend resorted again, as for the amuse-
ment of the thing, to their entertainer. " Am
I aware of the value of the Moretto ?"
Lord Theign, who had meanwhile lighted
another cigarette, appeared, a bit extravagantly
smoking, to wish to put an end to his effect
of hovering aloof. " That question needn't
trouble us when I see how much Mr. Bender
himself knows about it."
"Well, Lord Theign, I only know what that
young man puts it at." And then as the others
waited, "Ten thousand," said Mr. Bender.
" Ten thousand ? " The owner of the work
showed no emotion.
"Well," said Lord John again in Mr.
92 THE OUTCRY
Bender's style, " what's the matter with ten
thousand ? "
The subject of his gay tribute considered.
" There's nothing the matter with ten
"Then," Lord Theign asked, " is there
anything the matter with the picture ? "
" Yes, sir I guess there is."
It gave an upward push to his lordship's
eyebrows. " But what in the world ? "
" Well, that's just the question ! "
The eyebrows continued to rise. " Does he
pretend there's a question of whether it is a
" That's what he was up there trying to
" But if the value's, according to himself, ten
thousand ? "
''Why, of course," said Mr. Bender, "it's a
fine work anyway."
"Then," Lord Theign brought good-
naturedly out, "what's the matter with you,
That gentleman was perfectly clear. " The
matter with me, Lord Theign, is that I've no
use for a ten thousand picture."
THE OUTCRY 93
" ' No use ' ? " the expression had an oddity.
" But what's it your idea to do with such things ? "
"I mean," Mr. Bender explained, " that a
picture of that rank is not what I'm after."
"The figure," said his noble host speaking
thus, under pressure, commercially " is beyond
what you see your way to ? "
But Lord John had jumped at the truth.
"The matter with Mr. Bender is that he sees
his way much further."
" Further ? " their companion echoed.
" The matter with Mr. Bender is that he
wants to give millions."
Lord Theign sounded this abyss with a
smile. "Well, there would be no difficulty
about that, I think ! "
"Ah," said his guest, "you know the basis,
sir, on which I'm ready to pay."
" On the basis then of the Sir Joshua," Lord
John inquired, " how far would you go ? "
Mr. Bender indicated by a gesture that on a
question reduced to a moiety by its conditional
form he could give but semi-satisfaction.
"Well, I'd go all the way."
" He wants, you see," Lord John elucidated,
"an ideally expensive thing."
94 THE OUTCRY
Lord Theign appeared to decide after a
moment to enter into the pleasant spirit of this ;
which he did by addressing his younger friend.
" Then why shouldn't I make even the Moretto
as expensive as he desires ? "
" Because you can't do violence to that
master's natural modesty," Mr. Bender declared
before Lord John had time to speak. And
conscious at this moment of the reappearance
of his fellow-explorer, he at once supplied a
further light. " I guess this gentleman at any
rate can tell you."
HUGH CRIMBLE had come back from his
voyage of discovery, and it was visible as he
stood there flushed and quite radiant that he
had caught in his approach Lord Theign's last
inquiry and Mr. Bender's reply to it. You
would have imputed to him on the spot the
lively possession of a new idea, the sustaining
sense of a message important enough to justify
his irruption. He looked from one to the
other of the three men, scattered a little by the
THE OUTCRY 95
sight of him, but attached eyes of recognition
then to Lord Theign's, whom he remained an
instant longer communicatively smiling at.
After which, as you might have gathered, he
all confidently plunged, taking up the talk
where the others had left it. "I should say,
Lord Theign if you'll allow me, in regard to
what you appear to have been discussing, that
it depends a good deal on just that question
of what your Moretto, at any rate, may be
presumed or proved to 'be.' Let me thank
you," he cheerfully went on, "for your kind
leave to go over your treasures."
The personage he so addressed was, as we
know, nothing if not generally affable ; yet if
that was just then apparent it was through
a shade of coolness for the slightly heated
familiarity of so plain, or at least so free, a
young man in eye-glasses, now for the first time
definitely apprehended. "Oh, I've scarcely
' treasures ' but I've some things of interest."
Hugh, however, entering the opulent circle,
as it were, clearly took account of no breath
of a chill. " I think possible, my lord, that
you've a great treasure if you've really so
high a rarity as a splendid Mantovano."
96 THE OUTCRY
"A * Mantovano ' ? " You wouldn't have
been sure that his lordship didn't pronounce
the word for the first time in his life.
" There have been supposed to be only
seven real examples about the world ; so that
if by an extraordinary chance you find your-
self the possessor of a magnificent eighth "
But Lord John had already broken in.
"Why, there you are, Mr. Bender!"
"Oh, Mr. Bender, with whom I've made
acquaintance," Hugh returned, "was there as
it began to work in me "
"That your Moretto, Lord Theign " Mr.
Bender took their informant up "isn't, after
all, a Moretto at all." And he continued
amusedly to Hugh : "It began to work in
you, sir, like very strong drink ! "
" Do I understand you to suggest," Lord
Theign asked of the startling young man,
"that my precious picture isn't genuine?"
Well, Hugh knew exactly what he suggested.
" As a picture, Lord Theign, as a great portrait,
one of the most genuine things in Europe.
But it strikes me as probable that from far
back for reasons ! there has been a wrong
attribution ; that the work has been, in other
THE OUTCRY 97
words, traditionally, obstinately miscalled. It
has passed for a Moretto, and at first I quite
took it for one ; but I suddenly, as I looked
and looked and saw and saw, began to doubt,
and now I know why I doubted."
Lord Theign had during this speech kept
his eyes on the ground ; but he raised them
to Mr. Crimble's almost palpitating presence
for the remark: "I'm bound to say that I
hope you've some very good grounds ! "
"I've three or four, Lord Theign ; they
seem to me of the best as yet. They made
me wonder and wonder and then light
His lordship didn't stint his attention.
" Reflected, you mean, from other Mantovanos
that I don't know ? "
"I mean from those I know myself," said
Hugh; "and I mean from fine analogies with
one in particular."
"Analogies that in all these years, these cen-
turies, have so remarkably not been noticed ? "
"Well," Hugh competently explained,
" they're a sort of thing the very sense of, the
value and meaning of, are a highly modern
in fact a quite recent growth."
98 THE OUTCRY
Lord John at this professed with cordiality
that he at least quite understood. " Oh, we
know a lot more about our pictures and things
than ever our ancestors did ! "
"Well, I guess it's enough for me" Mr.
Bender contributed, "that your ancestors knew
enough to get 'em ! "
" Ah, that doesn't go so far," cried Hugh,
" unless we ourselves know enough to keep
'em ! "
The words appeared to quicken in a manner
Lord Theign's view of the speaker. " Were
your ancestors, Mr. Crimble, great collectors ? "
Arrested, it might be, in his general assur-
ance, Hugh wondered and smiled. "Mine
collectors? Oh, I'm afraid I haven't any to
speak of. Only it has seemed to me for a
long time," he added, " that on that head we
should all feel together."
Lord Theign looked for a moment as if
these were rather large presumptions ; then he
put them in their place a little curtly. "It's
one thing to keep our possessions for ourselves
it's another to keep them for other people."
"Well," Hugh good-humouredly returned,
"I'm perhaps not so absolutely sure of myself,
THE OUTCRY 99
if you press me, as that I shan't be glad of a
higher and wiser opinion I mean than my
own. It would be awfully interesting, if you'll
allow me to say so, to have the judgment of
one or two of the great men."
" You're not yourself, Mr. Crimble, one of
the great men ? " his host asked with tempered
"Well, I guess he's going to be, anyhow,"
Mr. Bender cordially struck in ; " and this
remarkable exhibition of intelligence may just
let him loose on the world, mayn't it ? "
"Thank you, Mr. Bender!" and Hugh
obviously tried to look neither elated nor
snubbed. "I've too much still to learn, but
I'm learning every day, and I shall have learnt
immensely this afternoon."
" Pretty well at my expense, however," Lord
Theign laughed, "if you demolish a name
we've held for generations so dear."
" You may have held the name dear, my
lord," his young critic answered; "but my
whole point is that, if I'm right, you've held
the picture itself cheap."
" Because a Mantovano," said Lord John,
"is so much greater a value ? "
ioo THE OUTCRY
Hugh met his eyes a moment. " Are you
talking of values pecuniary ? "
" What values are not pecuniary ? "
Hugh might, during his hesitation, have
been imagined to stand off a little from the
question. "Well, some things have in a
higher degree that one, and some have the
associational or the factitious, and some the
" And some," Mr. Bender opined, " have them
all in the highest degree. But what you
mean," he went on, "is that a Mantovano
would come higher under the hammer than a
Moretto ? "
"Why, sir," the young man returned, "there
aren't any, as I've just stated, to ' come.' I
account or I easily can for every one of the
very small number."
" Then do you consider that you account for
this one ? "
" I believe I shall if you'll give me time."
" Oh, time ! " Mr. Bender impatiently sighed.
" But we'll give you all we've got only I guess
it isn't much." And he appeared freely to
invite their companions to join in this estimate.
They listened to him, however, they watched
THE OUTCRY 101
him, for the moment, but in silence, and with
the next he had gone on : "How much higher
if your idea is correct about it would Lord
Theign's picture come ? "
Hugh turned to that nobleman. " Does Mr.
Bender mean come to him, my lord ? "
Lord Theign looked again hard at Hugh, and
then harder than he had done yet at his other
invader. " I don't know what Mr. Bender
means ! " With which he turned off.
"Well, I guess I mean that it would come
higher to me than to anyone ! But how much
higher ? " the American continued to Hugh.
" How much higher to you ?"
"Oh, I can size that. How much higher
as a Mantovano ? "
Unmistakably for us at least our young
man was gaining time ; he had the instinct of
circumspection and delay. " To any one ? "
" To any one."
" Than as a Moretto ? " Hugh continued.
It even acted on Lord John's nerves.
" That's what we're talking about really ! "
But Hugh still took his ease ; as if, with his
eyes first on Bender and then on Lord Theign,
whose back was practically presented, he were
102 THE OUTCRY
covertly studying signs. " Well," he presently
said, "in view of the very great interest com-
bined with the very great rarity, more than
ah more than can be estimated off-hand."
It made Lord Theign turn round. " But a
fine Moretto has a very great rarity and a
very great interest."
" Yes but not on the whole the same
amount of either."
"No, not on the whole the same amount of
either ! " Mr. Bender judiciously echoed it.
" But how," he freely pursued, "are you going
to find out ? "
" Have I your permission, Lord Theign,"
Hugh brightly asked, " to attempt to find out ? "
The question produced on his lordship's part
a visible, a natural anxiety. "What would it
be your idea then to do with my property ? "
" Nothing at all here it could all be done,
I think, at Verona. What besets, what quite
haunts me," Hugh explained, "is the vivid
image of a Mantovano one of the glories of
the short list in a private collection in that
place. The conviction grows in me that the
two portraits must be of the same original. In
fact I'll bet my head," the young man quite
THE OUTCRY 103
ardently wound up, "that the wonderful sub-
ject of the Verona picture, a very great person
clearly, is none other than the very great
person of yours."
Lord Theign had listened with interest.
" Mayn't he be that and yet from another
"It isn't another hand" oh Hugh was
quite positive. "It's the hand of the very
"How can you prove it's the same ? "
"Only by the most intimate internal evi-
dence, I admit and evidence that of course
has to be estimated."
"Then who," Lord Theign asked, "is to
estimate it ? "
"Well" Hugh was all ready "will you
let Pappendick, one of the first authorities in
Europe, a good friend of mine, in fact more or
less my master, and who is generally to be
found at Brussels ? I happen to know he
knows your picture he once spoke to me of
it ; and he'll go and look again at the Verona
one, he'll go and judge our issue, if I apply to
him, in the light of certain new tips that I shall
be able to give him."
104 THE OUTCRY
Lord Theign appeared to wonder. " If you
' apply ' to him ? "
" Like a shot, I believe, if I ask it of him
as a service."
"A service to you ? He'll be very oblig-
ing," his lordship smiled.
"Well, I've obliged him!" Hugh readily
"The obligation will be to me " Lord
Theign spoke more formally.
11 Well, the satisfaction," said Hugh, " will be
to all of us. The things Pappendick has seen he
intensely, ineffaceably keeps in mind, to every
detail ; so that he'll tell me as no one else really
can if the Verona man is your man."
"But then," asked Mr. Bender, "we've got
to believe anyway what he says ? "
"The market," said Lord John with em-
phasis, "would have to believe that's the
"Oh," Hugh returned lightly, "the market
will have nothing to do with it, I hope ; but I
think you'll feel when he has spoken that you
really know where you are."
Mr. Bender couldn't doubt of that. "Oh, if
he gives us a bigger thing we won't complain.
THE OUTCRY 105
Only, how long will it take him to get there ?
I want him to start right away."
"Well, as I'm sure he'll be deeply in-
11 We may " Mr. Bender took it straight up
"get news next week? "
Hugh addressed his reply to Lord Theign ;
it was already a little too much as if he and
the American between them were snatching
the case from that possessor's hands. " The
day I hear from Pappendick you shall have a
full report. And," he conscientiously added,
" if I'm proved to have been unfortunately
wrong ! "
His lordship easily pointed the moral.
"You'll have caused me some inconvenience."
" Of course I shall," the young man un-
reservedly agreed "like a wanton meddling
ass ! " His candour, his freedom had decidedly
a note of their own. " But my conviction,
after those moments with your picture, was too
strong for me not to speak and, since you
allow it, I face the danger and risk the test."
" I allow it of course in the form of business."
This produced in Hugh a certain blankness.
io6 THE OUTCRY
" If I consent to the inquiry I pay for the
Hugh demurred. " Even if I turn out
mistaken ? "
' 'You make me in any event your proper
The young man thought again, and then as
for vague accommodation: "Oh, my charge
won't be high ! "
"Ah," Mr. Bender protested, "it ought to
be handsome if the thing's marked up I" After
which he looked at his watch. " But I guess
I've got to go, Lord Theign, though your
lovely old Duchess for it's to her I've lost my
heart does cry out for me again."
" You'll find her then still there," Lord John ob-
served with emphasis, but with his eyes for the
time on Lord Theign ; " and if you want another
look at her I'll presently come and take one too."
"I'll order your car to the garden-front,"
Lord Theign added to this ; " you'll reach it
from the saloon, but I'll see you again first."
Mr. Bender glared as with the round full
force of his pair of motor lamps. "Well, if
you're ready to talk about anything, I am.
Good-bye, Mr. Crimble."
THE OUTCRY 107
" Good-bye, Mr. Bender." But Hugh, ad-
dressing their host while his fellow-guest
returned to the saloon, broke into the familiarity
of confidence. " As if you could be ready to
This produced on the part of the others
present a mute exchange that could only have
denoted surprise at all the irrepressible young
outsider thus projected upon them took for
granted. " I've an idea," said Lord John to his
friend, " that you're quite ready to talk with me."
Hugh then, with his appetite so richly quick-
ened, could but rejoice. " Lady Grace spoke
to me of things in the library."
" You'll find it that way " Lord Theign gave
" Thanks," said Hugh elatedly, and hastened
Lord John, when he had gone, found relief
in a quick comment. " Very sharp, no doubt
but he wants taking down."
The master of Dedborough wouldn't have
put it so crudely, but the young expert did
bring certain things home. " The people my
daughters, in the exercise of a wild freedom, do
pick up ! "
io8 THE OUTCRY
" Well, don't you see that all you've got to
do on the question we're dealing with is to
claim your very own wild freedom ? Surely
I'm right in feeling you," Lord John further
remarked, " to have jumped at once to my idea
that Bender is heaven-sent and at what they
call the psychologic moment, don't they ? to
point that moral. Why look anywhere else for
a sum of money that smaller or greater you
can find with perfect ease in that extraordinarily
bulging pocket ? "
Lord Theign, slowly pacing the hall again,
threw up his hands. " Ah, with 'perfect ease*
can scarcely be said ! "
" Why not? when he absolutely thrusts his
dirty dollars down your throat."
" Oh, I'm not talking of ease to him"
Lord Theign returned " I'm talking of ease
to myself. I shall have to make a sacrifice."
"Why not then for so great a convenience
gallantly make it ? "
" Ah, my dear chap, if you want me to sell
my Sir Joshua ! "
But the horror in the words said enough,
and Lord John felt its chill. " I don't make
a point of that God forbid! But there are
THE OUTCRY 109
other things to which the objection wouldn't
" You see how it applies in the case of the
Moretto for him. A mere Moretto," said
Lord Theign, " is too cheap for a Yankee ' on
the spend.' "
" Then the Mantovano wouldn't be."
"It remains to be proved that it is a
"Well," said Lord John, "go into it."
" Hanged if I won't ! " his friend broke out
after a moment. "It would suit me. I mean "
the explanation came after a brief intensity
of thought " the possible size of his cheque
" Oh," said Lord John gaily, " I guess there's
no limit to the possible size of his cheque ! "
"Yes, it would suit me, it would suit me!"
the elder man, standing there, audibly mused.
But his air changed and a lighter question
came up to him as he saw his daughter re-
appear at the door from the terrace. " Well,
the infant horde ? " he immediately put to her.
Lady Grace came in, dutifully accounting
for them. "They've marched off in a huge
no THE OUTCRY
" Thank goodness ! And our friends ? "
"All playing tennis," she said "save those
who are sitting it out." To which she added,
as to explain her return, "Mr. Crimble has
Lord John took upon him to say, "He's
in the library, to which you addressed him
"Not then, I hope," she smiled, "to our
disadvantage ! "
"To your very great honour and glory."
Lord John clearly valued the effect he might
produce. "Your Moretto of Brescia do you
know what it really and splendidly is ? " And
then as the girl, in her surprise, but wondered :
"A Mantovano, neither more nor less. Ever
so much more swagger."
"A Mantovano?" Lady Grace echoed,
"Why, how tremendously jolly!"
Her father was struck. " Do you know the
artist of whom I had never heard ? "
" Yes, something of the little that is known."
And she rejoiced as her knowledge came to
her. "He's a tremendous swell, because,
great as he was, there are but seven proved
THE OUTCRY in
" With this of yours," Lord John broke in,
"there are eight."
" Then why haven't I known about him?"
Lord Theign put it as if so many other people
were guilty for this.
His daughter was the first to plead for the
vague body. " Why, I suppose in order that
you should have exactly this pleasure, father."
" Oh, pleasures not desired are like acquaint-
ances not sought they rather bore one ! "
Lord Theign sighed. With which he moved
away from her.
Her eyes followed him an instant then she
smiled at their guest. " Is he bored at having
the higher prize if you're sure it is the
"Mr. Crimble is sure because if he isn't,"
Lord John added, "he's a wretch."
"Well," she returned, "as he's certainly
not a wretch it must be true. And fancy," she
exclaimed further, though as more particularly
for herself, "our having suddenly incurred this
immense debt to him ! "
"Oh, I shall pay Mr. Crimble!" said her
father, who had turned round.
The whole question appeared to have pro-
ii2 THE OUTCRY
voked in Lord John a rise of spirits and a
flush of humour. " Don't you let him stick it
His host, however, bethinking himself,
checked him. " Go you to Mr. Bender
straight ! "
Lord John saw the point. " Yes till he
leaves. But I shall find you here, shan't I ? "
he asked with all earnestness of Lady Grace.
She had an hesitation, but after a look at her
father she assented. "I'll wait for you."
"Then a tantot!" It made him show for
happy as, waving his hand at her, he proceeded
to seek Mr. Bender in presence of the object
that most excited that gentleman's appetite
to say nothing of the effect involved on Lord
LORD THEIGN, when he had gone, revolved
it might have been nervously about the place
a little, but soon broke ground. " He'll have
told you, I understand, that I've promised to
speak to you for him. But I understand also
THE OUTCRY 113
that he has found something to say for him-
"Yes, we talked a while since," the girl
said. " At least he did."
"Then if you listened I hope you listened
with a good grace."
"Oh, he speaks very well and I've never
It pulled her father up. "Is that all when
I think so much of him ? "
She seemed to say that she had, to her own
mind, been liberal and gone far ; but she
waited a little. " Do you think very, 'very
much ? "
" Surely I've made my good opinion clear
to you ! "
Again she had a pause. " Oh yes, I've seen
you like him and believe in him and I've
found him pleasant and clever."
"He has never had," Lord Theign more or
less ingeniously explained, "what I call a real
show." But the character under discussion
could after all be summed up without searching
analysis. " I consider nevertheless that there's
plenty in him."
It was a moderate claim, to which Lady
ii4 THE OUTCRY
Grace might assent. " He strikes me as
naturally quick and well, nice. But I agree
with you that he hasn't had a chance."
11 Then if you can see your way by sympathy
and confidence to help him to one I dare say
you'll find your reward."
For a third time she considered, as if a
certain curtness in her companion's manner
rather hindered, in such a question, than
helped. Didn't he simplify too much, you
would have felt her ask, and wasn't his visible
wish for brevity of debate a sign of his uncom-
fortable and indeed rather irritated sense of his
not making a figure in it ? " Do you desire it
very particularly ? " was, however, all she at
last brought out.
" I should like it exceedingly if you act
from conviction. Then of course only ; but
of one thing I'm myself convinced of what he
thinks of yourself and feels for you."
"Then would you mind my waiting a
little? " she asked. " I mean to be absolutely
sure of myself." After which, on his delaying
to agree, she added frankly, as to help her
case : " Upon my word, father, I should like to
do what would please you."
THE OUTCRY 115
But it determined in him a sharper impati-
ence. " Ah, what would please me! Don't
put it off on * me ' ! Judge absolutely for your-
self" he slightly took himself up "in the
light of my having consented to do for him
what I always hate to do : deviate from my
normal practice of never intermeddling. If
I've deviated now you can judge. But to do
so all round, of course, take in reason ! your
" May I ask then," she said, "for still a little
He looked at this verily as if it was not
in reason. " You know," he then returned,
"what he'll feel that a sign of."
"Well, I'll tell him what I mean."
"Then I'll send him to you."
He glanced at his watch and was going, but
after a " Thanks, father," she had stopped him.
"There's one thing more." An embarrass-
ment showed in her manner, but at the cost of
some effect of earnest abruptness she sur-
mounted it. "What does your American
Mr. Bender want?"
Lord Theign plainly felt the challenge.
" ' My ' American ? He's none of mine ! "
n6 THE OUTCRY
"Well then Lord John's."
" He's none of his either more, I mean,
than anyone else's. He's everyone's American,
literally to all appearance ; and I've not to
tell you, surely, with the freedom of your own
visitors, how people stalk in and out here."
''No, father certainly," she said. "You're
His eyes seemed rather sharply to ask her
then how he could improve on that ; but he
added as if it were enough : "What the man
must by this time want more than anything
else is his car."
"Not then anything of ours?" she still
"Of 'ours'?" he echoed with a frown.
" Are you afraid he has an eye to something of
yours ? "
"Why, if we've a new treasure which we
certainly have if we possess a Mantovano
haven't we all, even I, an immense interest in
it?" And before he could answer, "Is that
exposed ? " she asked.
Lord Theign, a little unready, cast about
at his storied halls ; any illusion to the
41 exposure" of the objects they so solidly
THE OUTCRY 117
sheltered was obviously unpleasant to him.
But then it was as if he found at a stroke
both his own reassurance and his daughter's.
"How can there be a question of it when he
only wants Sir Joshuas ? "
" He wants ours ? " the girl gasped.
" At absolutely any price."
" But you're not," she cried, " discussing it ? "
He hesitated as between chiding and con-
tenting her then he handsomely chose. " My
dear child, for what do you take me ? " With
which he impatiently started, through the long
and stately perspective, for the saloon.
She sank into a chair when he had gone ;
she sat there some moments in a visible tension
of thought, her hands clasped in her lap and
her dropped eyes fixed and unperceiving ; but
she sprang up as Hugh Crimble, in search of
her, again stood before her. He presented
himself as with winged sandals.
" What luck to find you ! I must take my
" You've seen everything as you wished ? "
"Oh," he smiled, " I've seen wonders."
She showed her pleasure. "Yes, we've got
n8 THE OUTCRY
" So Mr. Bender says ! " he laughed.
"You've got five or six "
' ' Only five or six?" she cried in bright
11 ' Only ' ? " he continued to laugh. " Why,
that's enormous, five or six things of the first
importance ! But I think I ought to mention
to you," he added, "a most barefaced ' Rubens '
there in the library."
"It isn't a Rubens?"
" No more than I'm a Ruskin."
" Then you'll brand us expose us for it ? "
" No, I'll let you off I'll be quiet if you're
good, if you go straight. I'll only hold it in
terrorem. One can't be sure in these dreadful
days that's always to remember ; so that if
you're not good I'll come down on you with it.
But to balance against that threat," he went
on, "I've made the very grandest find. At
least I believe I have ! "
She was all there for this news. "Of the
Mantovano hidden in the other thing ? "
Hugh wondered almost as if she had been
before him. "You don't mean to say youve
had the idea of that ? "
" No, but my father has told me."
THE OUTCRY 119
" And is your father," he eagerly asked,
4 'really gratified?"
With her conscious eyes on him her eyes
could clearly be very conscious about her father
she considered a moment. "He always
prefers old associations and appearances to
new ; but I'm sure he'll resign himself if you
see your way to a certainty."
"Well, it will be a question of the weight
of expert opinion that I shall invoke. But I'm
not afraid," he resolutely said, "and I shall
make the thing, from its splendid rarity, the
crown and flower of your glory."
Her serious face shone at him with a
charmed gratitude. "It's awfully beautiful
then your having come to us so. It's awfully
beautiful your having brought us this way, in
a flash as dropping out of a chariot of fire
more light and what you apparently feel with
myself as more honour/'
"Ah, the beauty's in your having yourself
done it!" he returned. He gave way to the
positive joy of it. "If I've brought the ' light '
and the rest that's to say the very useful
information who in the world was it brought
120 THE OUTCRY
She had a gesture of protest. " You'd have
come in some other way."
"I'm not so sure! I'm beastly shy little
as I may seem to show it : save in great
causes, when I'm horridly bold and hideously
offensive. Now at any rate I only know what
has been." She turned off for it, moving away
from him as with a sense of mingled things
that made for unrest ; and he had the next
moment grown graver under the impression.
" But does anything in it all," he asked,
" trouble you ? "
She faced about across the wider space, and
there was a different note in what she brought
out. " I don't know what forces me so to tell
"'Tell' me?" he stared. "Why, you've
told me nothing more monstrous than that I've
been welcome ! "
"Well, however that may be, what did you
mean just now by the chance of our not ' going
straight ' ? When you said you'd expose our
bad or is it our false ? Rubens in the event
of a certain danger."
" Oh, in the event of your ever being bribed "
he laughed again as with relief. And then
THE OUTCRY 121
as her face seemed to challenge the word :
" Why, to let anything of your best !
ever leave Dedborough. By which I mean
really of course leave the country." She
turned again on this, and something in her
air made him wonder. " I hope you don't
feel there is such a danger ? I understood
from you half an hour ago that it was un-
" Well, it was, to me, half an hour ago," she
said as she came nearer. " But if it has since
come up ? "
" ' If it has ! But has it ? In the form of
that monster ? What Mr. Bender wants is the
great Duchess," he recalled.
"And my father won't sell her? No, he
won't sell the great Duchess there I feel safe.
But he greatly needs a certain sum of money
or he thinks he does and I've just had a talk
"In which he has told you that ? "
"He has told me nothing," Lady Grace said
"or else told me quite other things. But
the more I think of them the more it comes to
me that he feels urged or tempted "
"To despoil and denude these walls?"
122 THE OUTCRY
Hugh broke in, looking about in his sharper
" Yes, to satisfy, to save my sister. Now
do you think our state so ideal ? " she
asked but without elation for her hint of
He had no answer for this save " Ah, but
you terribly interest me. May I ask what's
the matter with your sister ? "
Oh, she wanted to go on straight now !
" The matter is in the first place that she's
too dazzlingly, dreadfully beautiful."
"More beautiful than you?" his sincerity
" Millions of times." Sad, almost sombre,
she hadn't a shade of coquetry. ''Kitty has
debts great heaped-up gaming debts."
" But to such amounts ? "
" Incredible amounts it appears. And
mountains of others too. She throws herself
all on our father."
" And he has to pay them ? There's no one
else?" Hugh asked.
She waited as if he might answer himself,
and then as he apparently didn't, " He's only
afraid there may be someone else that's how she
THE OUTCRY 123
makes him do it," she said. And " Now do
you think," she pursued, "that I don't tell you
things ? "
He turned them over in his young percep-
tion and pity, the things she told him. "Oh,
oh, oh ! " And then, in the great place, while
as, just spent by the effort of her disclosure,
she moved from him again, he took them all
in. " That's the situation that, as you say,
may force his hand."
" It absolutely, I feel, does force it." And
the renewal of her appeal brought her round.
4 ' Isn't it too lovely ? "
His frank disgust answered. "It's too
damnable ! "
" And it's you," she quite terribly smiled,
"who by the ' irony of fate'! have given
He smote his head in the light of it. " By
the Mantovano ? "
" By the possible Mantovano as a substi-
tute for the impossible Sir Joshua. You've
made him aware of a value."
" Ah, but the value's to be fixed ! "
" Then Mr. Bender will fix it ! "
"Oh, but as he himself would say I'll fix
i2 4 THE OUTCRY
Mr. Bender!" Hugh declared. "And he
won't buy a pig in a poke."
This cleared the air while they looked at
each other ; yet she had already asked :
"What in the world can you do, and how in
the world can you do it ? "
Well, he was too excited for decision. " I
don't quite see now, but give me time." And
he took out his watch as already to measure it.
" Oughtn't I before I go to say a word to Lord
" Is it your idea to become a lion in his
"Well, say a cub as that's what I'm afraid
he'll call me ! But I think I should speak to
She drew a conclusion momentarily dark.
" He'll have to learn in that case that I've told
you of my fear."
"And is there any good reason why he
shouldn't ? "
She kept her eyes on him and the darkness
seemed to drop. "No!" she at last replied,
and, having gone to touch an electric bell, was
with him again. " But I think I'm rather sorry
THE OUTCRY 125
" Does that represent a reason why I should
be so for you ? "
For a little she said nothing ; but after that :
"None whatever! "
" Then is the sister of whom you speak
Lady Grace, at this, raised her hand in
caution : the butler had arrived, with due
gravity, in answer to her ring ; to whom she
made known her desire. " Please say to his
lordship in the saloon or wherever that Mr.
Crimble must go." When Banks had de-
parted, however, accepting the responsibility of
this mission, she answered her friend's question.
"The sister of whom I speak is Lady Imber."
" She loses then so heavily at bridge ? "
" She loses more than she wins."
Hugh gazed as with interest at these
oddities of the great. "And yet she still
plays ? "
"What else, in her set, should she do ?"
This he was quite unable to say ; but he
could after a moment's exhibition of the extent
to which he was out of it put a question
instead. "So you're not in her set?"
" I'm not in her set."
126 THE OUTCRY
"Then decidedly," he said, " I don't want to
save her. I only want "
He was going on, but she broke in : "I
know what you want ! "
He kept his eyes on her till he had made
sure and this deep exchange between them
had a beauty. " So you're now with me ? "
"I'm now with you ! "
"Then," said Hugh, "shake hands on it."
He offered her his hand, she took it, and
their grasp became, as you would have seen
in their fine young faces, a pledge in which
they stood a minute locked. Lord Theign
came upon them from the saloon in the midst
of the process ; on which they separated as
with an air of its having consisted but of
Hugh's leave-taking. With some such form
of mere civility, at any rate, he appeared, by
the manner in which he addressed himself to
Hugh, to have supposed them occupied.
"I'm sorry my daughter can't keep you;
but I must at least thank you for your interest-
ing view of my picture."
Hugh indulged in a brief and mute, though
very grave, acknowledgment of this expression ;
presently speaking, however, as on a resolve
THE OUTCRY 127
taken with a sense of possibly awkward con-
sequences : " May I before you're sure of
your indebtedness put you rather a straight
question, Lord Theign?" It sounded doubt-
less, and of a sudden, a little portentous as
was in fact testified to by his lordship's quick
stiff stare, full of wonder at so free a note.
But Hugh had the courage of his undertaking.
" If I contribute in my modest degree to
establishing the true authorship of the work
you speak of, may I have from you an assur-
ance that my success isn't to serve as a basis
for any peril or possibility of its leaving the
country ? "
Lord Theign was visibly astonished, but had
also, independently of this, turned a shade pale.
" You ask of me an * assurance ' ? "
Hugh had now, with his firmness and his
strained smile, quite the look of having counted
the cost of his step. " I'm afraid I must, you
It pressed at once in his host the spring of a
very grand manner. "And pray by what
right here do you do anything of the sort ? "
"By the right of a person from whom you,
on your side, are accepting a service."
128 THE OUTCRY
Hugh had clearly determined in his opponent
a rise of what is called spirit. " A service that
you half an hour ago thrust on me, sir and
with which you may take it from me that I'm
already quite prepared to dispense."
"I'm sorry to appear indiscreet," our young
man returned ; "I'm sorry to have upset you
in any way. But I can't overcome my
Lord Theign took the words from his lips.
" And you therefore invite me at the end of
half an hour in this house ! to account to you
for my personal intentions and my private
affairs and make over my freedom to your
Hugh stood there with his eyes on the black
and white pavement that stretched about him
the great lozenged marble floor that might have
figured that ground of his own vision which he
had made up his mind to " stand." "I can
only see the matter as I see it, and I should be
ashamed not to have seized any chance to
appeal to you." Whatever difficulty he had
had shyly to face didn't exist for him now. " I
entreat you to think again, to think well, before
you -deprive us of such a source of just envy."
THE OUTCRY 129
" And you regard your entreaty as helped,"
Lord Theign asked, "by the beautiful threat
you are so good as to attach to it ? " Then as
his monitor, arrested, exchanged a searching
look with Lady Grace, who, showing in her
face all the pain of the business, stood off at
the distance to which a woman instinctively
retreats when a scene turns to violence as
precipitately as this one appeared to strike her
as having turned : " I ask you that not less
than I should like to know whom you speak of
as ' deprived ' of property that happens for
reasons that I don't suppose you also quarrel
with ! to be mine."
" Well, I know nothing about threats, Lord
Theign," Hugh said, "but I speak of all of
us of all the people of England ; who would
deeply deplore such an act of alienation, and
whom, for the interest they bear you, I beseech
you mercifully to consider."
"The interest they bear me?" the master
of Dedborough fairly bristled with wonder.
" Pray how the devil do they show it ? "
"I think they show it in all sorts of ways"
and Hugh's critical smile, at almost any
moment hovering, played over the question in
130 THE OUTCRY
a manner seeming to convey that he meant
" Understand then, please," said Lord Theign
with every inch of his authority, "that they'll
show it best by minding their own business
while I very particularly mind mine."
"You simply do, in other words," Hugh
explicitly concluded, "what happens to be
convenient to you."
" In very distinct preference to what happens
to be convenient to you ! So that I need no
longer detain you," Lord Theign added with
the last dryness and as if to wind up their brief
and thankless connection.
The young man took his dismissal, being
able to do no less, while, unsatisfied and
unhappy, he looked about mechanically for the
cycling-cap he had laid down somewhere in the
hall on his arrival. " I apologise, my lord,
if I seem to you to have ill repaid your
hospitality. But," he went on with his un-
commended cheer, " my interest in your picture
Lady Grace, who had stopped and strayed
and stopped again as a mere watchful witness,
drew nearer hereupon, breaking her silence for
THE OUTCRY 131
the first time. " And please let me say, father,
that mine also grows and grows."
It was obvious that this parent, surprised
and disconcerted by her tone, judged her con-
tribution superfluous. ''I'm happy to hear it,
Grace but yours is another affair."
" I think on the contrary that it's quite the
same one," she returned " since it's on my
hint to him that Mr. Crimble has said to you
what he has." The resolution she had gathered
while she awaited her chance sat in her charm-
ing eyes, which met, as she spoke, the straighter
paternal glare. "I let him know that I sup-
posed you to think of profiting by the import-
ance of Mr. Bender's visit."
" Then you might have spared, my dear,
your I suppose and hope well-meant inter-
pretation of my mind." Lord Theign showed
himself at this point master of the beautiful art
of righting himself as without having been in
the wrong. " Mr. Bender's visit will terminate
as soon as he has released Lord John
without my having profited in the smallest
Hugh meanwhile evidently but wanted to
speak for his friend. "It was Lady Grace's
132 THE OUTCRY
anxious inference, she will doubtless let me
say for her, that my idea about the Moretto
would add to your power well," he pushed
on not without awkwardness, " of 'realising'
advantageously on such a prospective rise."
Lord Theign glanced at him as positively
for the last time, but spoke to Lady Grace.
" Understand then, please, that, as I detach
myself from any association with this gentle-
man's ideas whether about the Moretto or
about anything else his further application of
them ceases from this moment to concern us."
The girl's rejoinder was to address herself
directly to Hugh, across their companion.
" Will you make your inquiry for me then ?"
The light again kindled in him. " With all
the pleasure in life ! " He had found his cap
and, taking them together, bowed to the two,
for departure, with high emphasis of form.
Then he marched off in the direction from
which he had entered.
Lord Theign scarce waited for his disappear-
ance to turn in wrath to Lady Grace. " I
denounce the indecency, wretched child, of
your public defiance of me ! "
They were separated by a wide interval now,
THE OUTCRY 133
and though at her distance she met his reproof
so unshrinkingly as perhaps to justify the terms
into which it had broken, she became aware of
a reason for his not following it up. She pro-
nounced in quick warning " Lord John! " for
their friend, released from among the pictures,
was rejoining them, was already there.
He spoke straight to his host on coming
into sight. "Bender's at last off, but" he
indicated the direction of the garden front
" you may still find him, out yonder, prolong-
ing the agony with Lady Sandgate."
Lord Theign remained a moment, and the
heat of his resentment remained. He looked
with a divided discretion, the pain of his in-
decision, from his daughter's suitor and his
approved candidate to that contumacious young
woman and back again ; then choosing his
course in silence he had a gesture of almost
desperate indifference and passed quickly out
by the door to the terrace.
It had left Lord John gaping. " What on
earth's the matter with your father ? "
" What on earth indeed ? " Lady Grace un-
aidingly asked. " Is he discussing with that
awful man ? "
134 THE OUTCRY
" Old Bender ? Do you think him so
awful ? " Lord John showed surprise which
might indeed have passed for harmless amuse-
ment ; but he shook everything off in view
of a nearer interest. He quite waved old
Bender away. " My dear girl, what do we
" I care immensely, I assure you," she inter-
rupted, " and I ask of you, please, to tell me ! "
Her perversity, coming straight and which
he had so little expected, threw him back so
that he looked at her with sombre eyes. " Ah,
it's not for such a matter I'm here, Lady Grace
I'm here with that fond question of my
own." And then as she turned away, leaving
him with a vehement motion of protest : "I've
come for your kind answer the answer your
father instructed me to count on."
"I've no kind answer to give you!" she
raised forbidding hands. " I entreat you to
leave me alone."
There was so high a spirit and so strong
a force in it that he stared as if stricken by
violence. "In God's name then what has
happened when you almost gave me your
THE OUTCRY 135
"What has happened is that I've found it
impossible to listen to you." And she moved
as if fleeing she scarce knew whither before
He had already hastened round another
way, however, so as to meet her in her quick
circuit of the hall. "That's all you've got to
say to me after what has passed between us ? "
He had stopped her thus, but she had also
stopped him, and her passionate denial set
him a limit. "I've got to say sorry as I
am that if you must have an answer it's
this : that never, Lord John, never, can there
be anything more between us." And her
gesture cleared her path, permitting her to
achieve her flight. "Never, no, never," she
repeated as she went "never, never, never!"
She got off by the door at which she had
been aiming to some retreat of her own, while
aghast and defeated, left to make the best of
it, he sank after a moment into a chair and
remained quite pitiably staring before him,
appealing to the great blank splendour.
LADY SANDGATE, on a morning late
in May, entered her drawing-room by
the door that opened at the right of that
charming retreat as a person coming in faced
B niton Street ; and she met there at this
moment Mr. Gotch, her butler, who had just
appeared in the much wider doorway forming
opposite the Bruton Street windows an apart-
ment not less ample, lighted from the back of
the house and having its independent connec-
tion with the upper floors and the lower. She
showed surprise at not immediately finding the
visitor to whom she had been called.
-But Mr. Crimble ?"
" Here he is, my lady." And he made way
for that gentleman, who emerged from the
back room ; Gotch observing the propriety of a
" I went in for a minute, with your servant's
permission/' Hugh explained, " to see your
famous Lawrence which is splendid ; he was
140 THE OUTCRY
so good as to arrange the light." The young
man's dress was of a form less relaxed than
on the occasion of his visit to Dedborough ;
yet the soft felt hat that he rather restlessly
crumpled as he talked marked the limit of his
sacrifice to vain appearances.
Lady Sandgate was at once interested in the
punctuality of his reported act. " Gotch thinks
as much of my ancestress as I do and even
seems to have ended by taking her for his very
" One sees, unmistakably, from her beauty,
that you at any rate are of her line," Hugh
allowed himself, not without confidence, the
amusement of replying; "and I must make
sure of another look at her when I've a good
deal more time."
His hostess heard him as with a lapse of
hope. " You hadn't then come for the poor
dear ? " And then as he obviously hadn't, but
for something quite else : "I thought, from so
prompt an interest, that she might be coveted ! "
It dropped with a yearning sigh.
4 'You imagined me sent by some prowling
collector?'* Hugh asked. "Ah, I shall never
do their work unless to betray them : that I
THE OUTCRY 141
shouldn't in the least mind! and I'm here,
frankly, at this early hour, to ask your consent
to my seeing Lady Grace a moment on a par-
ticular business, if she can kindly give me time."
" You've known then of her being with me ? "
" I've known of her coming to you straight
on leaving Dedborough," he explained; "of
her wishing not to go to her sister's, and of
Lord Theign's having proceeded, as they say,
or being on the point of proceeding, to some
11 And you've learnt it from having seen her
these three or four weeks ? "
"I've met her but just barely two or
three times : at a 'private view,' at the opera,
in the lobby, and that sort of thing. But she
hasn't told you ? "
Lady Sandgate neither affirmed nor denied ;
she only turned on him her thick lustre. " I
wanted to see how much youd tell." She
waited even as for more, but this not coming
she helped herself. " Once again at dinner ? "
" Yes, but alas not near her ! "
" Once then at a private view ? when, with
the squash they usually are, you might have
been very near her indeed ! "
142 THE OUTCRY
The young man, his hilarity quickened, took
but a moment for the truth. " Yes it was a
squash ! "
"And once," his hostess pursued, " in the
lobby of the opera ? "
" After ' Tristan ' yes ; but with some awful
grand people I didn't know."
She recognised ; she estimated the grandeur.
"Oh, the Pennimans are nobody! But now,"
she asked, "you've come, you say, on 'busi-
"Very important, please which accounts
for the hour I've ventured and the appearance
"I don't ask you too much to 'account,'"
Lady Sandgate kindly said ; " but I can't not
wonder if she hasn't told you what things have
He cast about. "She has had no chance
to tell me anything beyond the fact of her
" Without the reason ? "
" ' The reason ' ? " he echoed.
She gave it up, going straighter. " She's
with me then as an old firm friend. Under
my care and protection."
THE OUTCRY 143
" I see " he took it, with more penetration
than enthusiasm, as a hint in respect to him-
self. " She puts you on your guard."
Lady Sandgate expressed it more graciously.
" She puts me on my honour or at least her
" As to her seeing me ? "
' ' As to my seeing at least what may happen
" Because you say things have happened ? "
His companion fairly sounded him. " You've
only talked when you've met of * art ' ? "
" Well," he smiled, " ' art is long ' ! "
"Then I hope it may see you through!
But you should know first that Lord Theign
is presently due "
''Here, back already from abroad?" he
was all alert.
"He has not yet gone he comes up this
morning to start."
" And stops here on his way ? "
" To take the train de luxe this afternoon to
his annual Salsomaggiore. But with so little
time to spare," she went on reassuringly,
"that, to simplify as he wired me an hour
ago from Dedborough he has given rendez-
144 THE OUTCRY
vous here to Mr. Bender, who is particularly
to wait for him."
"And who may therefore arrive at any
moment ? "
She looked at her bracelet watch. " Scarcely
before noon. So you'll just have your
" Thank the powers then ! " Hugh grasped
at it. " I shall have it best if you'll be so good
as to tell me first well," he faltered, "what it
is that, to my great disquiet, you've further
alluded to ; what it is that has occurred."
Lady Sandgate took her time, but her
good-nature and other sentiments pronounced.
" Haven't you at least guessed that she has
fallen under her father's extreme reprobation ? "
"Yes, so much as that that she must have
greatly annoyed him I have been supposing.
But isn't it by her having asked me to act for
her? I mean about the Mantovano which I
Lady Sandgate wondered. "You've
" It's what I've come to tell her at last and
I'm all impatience."
" I see, I see " she had caught a clue.
THE OUTCRY 145
" He hated that yes ; but you haven't really
made out," she put to him, "the other effect
of your hour at Dedborough? " She re-
cognised, however, while she spoke, that his
divination had failed, and she didn't trouble
him to confess it. " Directly you had gone
she 4 turned down ' Lord John. Declined,
I mean, the offer of his hand in marriage."
Hugh was clearly as much mystified as any-
thing else. " He proposed there ?"
" He had spoken, that day, before before
your~;talk with Lord Theign, who had every
confidence in her accepting him. But you
came, Mr. Crimble, you went ; and when her
suitor reappeared, just after you had gone, for
his answer "
"She wouldn't have him?" Hugh asked
with ajprecipitation of interest.
But Lady Sandgate could humour almost
any curiosity. " She wouldn't look at him."
He bethought himself. " But had she said
" So her father indignantly considers/ 1
44 That's the ground of his indignation ? "
44 He had his reasons for counting on her,
and it has determined a painful crisis/'
i 4 6 THE OUTCRY
Hugh Crimble turned this over feeling
apparently for something he didn't find. " I'm
sorry to hear such things, but where's the con-
nection with me ? "
" Ah, you know best yourself, and if you
don't see any ! " In that case, Lady Sand-
gate's motion implied, she washed her hands
Hugh had for a moment the air of a young
man treated to the sweet chance to guess a
conundrum which he gave up. " I really
don't see any, Lady Sandgate. But," he a
little inconsistently said, "I'm greatly obliged
to you for telling me."
" Don't mention it ! though I think it is
good of me," she smiled, "on so short an
acquaintance." To which she added more
gravely: "I leave you the situation but I'm
willing to let you know that I'm all on Grace's
"So am I, rather! please let me frankly
He clearly refreshed, he even almost charmed
her. "It's the very least you can say!
though I'm not sure whether you say it as the
simplest or as the very subtlest of men. But
THE OUTCRY 147
in case you don't know as I do how little the
particular candidate I've named "
" Had a right or a claim to succeed with
her ? " he broke in all quick intelligence here
at least. " No, I don't perhaps know as well
as you do but I think I know as well as I
just yet require."
" There you are then ! And if you did pre-
vent," his hostess maturely pursued, "what
wouldn't have been well, good or nice, I'm
quite on your side too.'*
Our young man seemed to feel the shade of
ambiguity, but he reached at a meaning.
" You're with me in my plea for our defend-
ing at any cost of effort or ingenuity "
" The precious picture Lord Theign ex-
poses ? " she took his presumed sense faster
than he had taken hers. But she hung fire a
moment with her reply to it. "Well, will you
keep the secret of everything I've said or say ? "
" To the death, to the stake, Lady Sandgate ! "
"Then," she momentously returned, " I only
want, too, to make Bender impossible. If you
ask me," she pursued, "how I arrange that
with my deep loyalty to Lord Theign "
" I don't ask you anything of the sort," he
148 THE OUTCRY
interrupted " I wouldn't ask you for the
world ; and my own bright plan for achieving
the coup you mention "
"You'll have time, at the most," she said,
consulting afresh her bracelet watch, "to ex-
plain to Lady Grace." She reached an electric
bell, which she touched facing then her visitor
again with an abrupt and slightly embarrassed
change of tone. "You do think my great
portrait splendid ? "
He had strayed far from it and all too
languidly came back. " Your Lawrence there ?
As I said, magnificent."
But the butler had come in, interrupting,
straight from the lobby ; of whom she made
her request. " Let her ladyship know Mr.
Gotch looked hard at Hugh and the crumpled
hat almost as if having an option. But he
resigned himself to repeating, with a distinct-
ness that scarce fell short of the invidious, "Mr.
Crimble," and departed on his errand.
Lady Sandgate's fair flush of diplomacy had
meanwhile not faded. "Couldn't you, with
your immense cleverness and power, get the
Government to do something ? "
THE OUTCRY 149
" About your picture ? " Hugh betrayed on
this head a graceless detachment. " You too
then want to sell ? "
Oh she righted herself. " Never to a private
"Mr. Bender's not after it?" he asked
though scarce lighting his reluctant interest
with a forced smile.
"Most intensely after it. But never," cried
the proprietress, " to a bloated alien ! "
"Then I applaud your patriotism. Only
why not," he asked, "carrying that magnan-
imity a little further, set us all an example as
splendid as the object itself?"
"Give it you for nothing?" She threw^up
shocked hands. " Because I'm an aged female
pauper and can't make every sacrifice."
Hugh pretended none too convincingly
to think. "Will you let them have it very
cheap ? "
" Yes for less than such a bribe as Bender's."
"Ah," he said expressively, " that might be,
and still !"
Well, she had a flare of fond confidence.
"I'll find out what he'll offer if you'll on your
side do what you can and then ask them a
150 THE OUTCRY
third less." And she followed it up as if
suddenly conceiving him a prig. " See here,
Mr. Crimble, I've been and this very first
time ! charming to you."
"You have indeed," he returned ; "but you
throw back on it a lurid light if it has all been
for that ! "
"It has been well, to keep things as I want
them ; and if I've given you precious informa-
tion mightn't you on your side "
"Estimate its value in cash?" Hugh
sharply took her up. "Ah, Lady Sandgate,
I am in your debt, but if you really bargain for
your precious information I'd rather we assume
that 1 haven't enjoyed it."
She made him, however, in reply, a sign for
silence ; she had heard Lady Grace enter the
other room from the back landing, and, reach-
ing the nearer door, she disposed of the question
with high gay bravery. " I won't bargain with
the Treasury ! " she had passed out by the
time Lady Grace arrived.
THE OUTCRY 151
As Hugh recognised in this friend's entrance
and face the light of welcome he went, full of
his subject, straight to their main affair. " I
haven't been able to wait, I've wanted so much
to tell you I mean how I've just come back
from Brussels, where I saw Pappendick, who
was free and ready, by the happiest chance, to
start for Verona, which he must have reached
some time yesterday."
The girl's responsive interest fairly broke
into rapture. " Ah, the dear sweet thing ! "
"Yes, he's a brick but the question now
hangs in the balance. Allowing him time to
have got into relation with the picture, I've
begun to expect his wire, which will probably
come to my club ; but my fidget, while I wait,
has driven me" he threw out and dropped
his arms in expression of his soft surrender
"well, just to do this : to come to you here, in
my fever, at an unnatural hour and uninvited,
and at least let you know I've 'acted.' '
"Oh, but I simply rejoice," Lady Grace
declared, "to be acting with you."
152 THE OUTCRY
" Then if you are, if you are'' the young
man cried, "why everything's beautiful and
right ! "
" It's all I care for and think of now," she
went on in her bright devotion, "and I've only
wondered and hoped ! "
Well, Hugh found for it all a rapid, abund-
ant lucidity. " He was away from home at
first, and I had to wait but I crossed last
week, found him and settled it ; coming home
by Paris, where I had a grand four days' jaw
with the fellows there and saw their great
specimen of our master : all of which has given
" And now his time's up ? " the girl eagerly
" It must be and we shall see." But Hugh
postponed that question to a matter of more
moment still. "The thing is that at last I'm
able to tell you how I feel the trouble I've
It made her, quickly colouring, rest grave
eyes on him. " What do you know when I
haven't told you about my ' trouble ' ? "
" Can't I have guessed, with a ray of intelli-
gence ?" he had his answer ready. " You've
THE OUTCRY 153
sought asylum with this good friend from the
effects of your father's resentment."
" ' Sought asylum' is perhaps excessive,"
Lady Grace returned " though it wasn't
pleasant with him after that hour, no," she
allowed. "And I couldn't go, you see, to
" No indeed, you couldn't go to Kitty."
He smiled at her hard as he added : " I should
have liked to see you go to Kitty ! Therefore
exactly is it that I've set you adrift that I've
darkened and poisoned your days. You're
paying with your comfort, with your peace, for
having joined so gallantly in my grand re-
She shook her head, turning from him, but
then turned back again as if accepting, as if
even relieved by, this version of the prime
cause of her state. " Why do you talk of it as
' paying ' if it's all to come back to my being
paid ? I mean by your blest success if you
really do what you want."
" I have your word for it," he searchingly
said, " that our really pulling it off together will
make up to you ? "
" I should be ashamed if it didn't, for every-
154 THE OUTCRY
thing ! " she took the question from his mouth.
" I believe in such a cause exactly as you do
and found a lesson, at Dedborough, in your
frankness and your faith."
" Then you'll help me no end," he said all
simply and sincerely.
" You've helped me already " that she gave
him straight back. And on it they stayed a
moment, their strenuous faces more intensely
" You're very wonderful for a girl ! " Hugh
" One has to be a girl, naturally, to be a
daughter of one's house," she laughed; "and
that's all I am of ours but a true and a right
and a straight one."
He glowed with his admiration. " You're
splendid ! "
That might be or not, her light shrug in-
timated ; she gave it, at any rate, the go-by
and more exactly stated her case. " I see our
"So do I, Lady Grace!" he cried with the
strongest emphasis. "And your father only
"Yes," she said for intelligent correction
THE OUTCRY 155
" he sees it, there's nothing in life he sees so
much. But unfortunately he sees it all wrong."
Hugh seized her point of view as if there
had been nothing of her that he wouldn't have
seized. " He sees it all wrong then ! My
appeal the other day he took as a rude protest.
And any protest "
" Any protest," she quickly and fully agreed,
"he takes as an offence, yes. It's his theory
that he still has rights," she smiled, " though
he is a miserable peer."
" How should he not have rights," said
Hugh, "when he has really everything on
earth ? "
"Ah, he doesn't even know that he takes
it so much for granted." And she sought,
though as rather sadly and despairingly, to
explain. " He lives all in his own world."
"He lives all in his own, yes ; but he does
business all in ours quite as much as the
people who come up to the city in the Tube."
With which Hugh had a still sharper recall of
the stiff actual. "And he must be here to do
"You know," Lady Grace asked, "that he's
to meet Mr. Bender?"
156 THE OUTCRY
" Lady Sandgate kindly warned me, and,'*
her companion saw as he glanced at the clock
on the chimney, " I've only ten minutes at
best. The * Journal ' won't have been good
for him," he added " you doubtless have seen
"No" she was vague. "We live by the
' Morning Post.' "
"That's why our friend here didn't speak
then," Hugh said with a better light "which,
out of a dim consideration for her, I didn't
do either. But they've a leader this morning
about Lady Lappington and her Longhi, and
on Bender and his hauls, and on the certainty
if we don't do something energetic of more
and more Benders to come : such a conquering
horde as invaded the old civilisation, only
armed now with huge cheque-books instead of
with spears and battle-axes. They refer to the
rumour current as too horrific to believe of
Lord Theign's putting up his Moretto ; with
the question of how properly to qualify any
such sad purpose in him should the further
report prove true of a new and momentous
opinion about the picture entertained by several
THE OUTCRY 157
" Of whom," said the girl, intensely attached
to this recital, "you're of course seen as not
"Of whom, of course, Lady Grace, I'm as
yet however I'm ' seen ' the whole collection.
But we've time " he rested on that. "The
fat, if you'll allow me the expression, is on the
fire which, as I see the matter, is where this
particular fat should\)t"
" Is the article, then," his companion
appealed, "very severe?"
" I prefer to call it very enlightened and
very intelligent and the great thing is that
it immensely * marks,' as they say. It will
have made a big public difference from this
day ; though it's of course aimed not so much
at persons as at conditions ; which it calls upon
us all somehow to tackle."
" Exactly " she was full of the saving
vision ; " but as the conditions are directly
embodied in persons "
"Oh, of course it here and there bells the
cat ; which means that it bells three or four."
" Yes," she richly brooded " Lady Lapping-
ton is a cat ! "
"She will have been 'belled, 'at any rate,
158 THE OUTCRY
with your father," Hugh amusedly went on,
" to the certainty of a row ; and a row can only
be good for us I mean for us in particular.'*
Yet he had to bethink himself. " The case
depends a good deal of course on how your
father takes such a resounding rap."
"Oh, I know how he'll take it!" her per-
ception went all the way.
" In the very highest and properest spirit ? "
" Well, you'll see." She was as brave as she
was clear. " Or at least / shall ! "
Struck with all this in her he renewed his
homage. " You are, yes, splendid ! "
" I even," she laughed, "surprise myself."
But he was already back at his calculations,
" How early do the papers get to you ? "
"At Dedborough ? Oh, quite for breakfast
which isn't, however, very early."
"Then that's what has caused his wire to
"But how will such talk strike him?" the
Hugh meanwhile, visibly, had not only
followed his train of thought, he had let it lead
him to certainty. "It will have moved Mr.
Bender to absolute rapture."
THE OUTCRY 159
" Rather," Lady Grace wondered, " than have
put him off?"
"It will have put him prodigiously on ! Mr.
Bender as he said to me at Dedborough of
his noble host there," Hugh pursued "is 'a
very nice man ' ; but he's a product of the world
of advertisement, and advertisement is all he
sees and aims at. He lives in it as a saint in
glory or a fish in water."
She took it from him as half doubting. " But
mayn't advertisement, in so special a case, turn,
on the whole, against him ? "
Hugh shook a negative forefinger with an
expression he might have caught from foreign
comrades. "He rides the biggest whirlwind
he has got it saddled and bitted."
She faced the image, but cast about. " Then
where does our success come in ? "
"In our making the beast, all the same, bolt
with him and throw him." And Hugh further
pointed the moral. " If in such proceedings all
he knows is publicity the thing is to give him
publicity, and it's only a question of giving him
enough. By the time he has enough for himself,
you see, he'll have too much for every one else
so that we shall ' up ' in a body and slay him."
160 THE OUTCRY
The girl's eyebrows, in her wondering face,
rose to a question. " But if he has meanwhile
got the picture ? "
"We'll slay him before he gets it!" He
revelled in the breadth of his view. " Our own
policy must be to organise to that end the
inevitable outcry. Organise Bender himself
organise him to scandal." Hugh had already
even pity to spare for their victim. "He won't
know it from a boom."
Though carried along, however, Lady Grace
could still measure. " But that will be only if
he wants and decides for the picture."
" We must make him then want and decide
for it decide, that is, for 'ours.' To save it
we must work him up he'll in that case want
it so indecently much. Then we shall have
to want it more!"
"Well," she anxiously felt it her duty to
remind him, "you can take a horse to
water ! "
" Oh, trust me to make him drink ! "
There appeared a note in this that convinced
her, "It's you, Mr. Crimble, who are
"Well, I shall be with my jolly wire!"
THE OUTCRY 161
And all on that scent again, " May I come
back to you from the club with Pappendick's
news ? " he asked.
" Why, rather, of course, come back ! "
"Only not," he debated, "till your father
has left.' 1
Lady Grace considered too, but sharply
decided. " Come when you have it. But tell
me first," she added, "one thing." She hung
fire a little while he waited, but she brought it
out. "Was it you who got the 'Journal' to
" Ah, one scarcely ' gets ' the ' Journal ' ! "
" Who then gave them their ' tip ' ? "
"About the Mantovano and its peril?"
Well, he took a moment but only not to say ;
in addition to which the butler had reappeared,
entering from the lobby. " I'll tell you," he
laughed, "when I come back!"
Gotch had his manner of announcement
while the visitor was mounting the stairs.
" Mr. Breckenridge Bender ! "
" Ah then I go," said Lady Grace at once.
" I'll stay three minutes." Hugh turned
with her, alertly, to the easier issue, signalling
hope and cheer from that threshold as he
162 THE OUTCRY
watched her disappear ; after which he faced
about with as brave a smile and as ready for
immediate action as if she had there within
kissed her hand to him. Mr. Bender emerged
at the same instant, Gotch withdrawing and
closing the door behind him ; and the former
personage, recognising his young friend, threw
up his hands for friendly pleasure.
"An, Mr. Crimble," he cordially inquired,
" you've come with your great news ? "
Hugh caught the allusion, it would have
seemed, but after a moment. " News of the
Moretto ? No, Mr. Bender, I haven't 'news
yet." But he added as with high candour for
the visitor's motion of disappointment : " I
think I warned you, you know, that it would
take three or four weeks."
"Well, in my country," Mr. Bender returned
with disgust, " it would take three or four
minutes ! Can't you make 'em step more
THE OUTCRY 163
" I'm expecting, sir," said Hugh good-
humouredly, "a report from hour to hour."
" Then will you let me have it right off? "
Hugh indulged in a pause ; after which very
frankly : " Ah, it's scarcely for you, Mr. Bender
that I'm acting! "
The great collector was but briefly checked.
" Well, can't you just act for Art ? "
"Oh, you're doing that yourself so power-
fully," Hugh laughed, "that I think I had best
leave it to you ! "
His friend looked at him as some inspector
on circuit might look at a new improvement
" Don't you want to go round acting with
"Go 'on tour,' as it were? Oh, frankly,
Mr. Bender," Hugh said, " if I had any
weight ! "
"You'd add it to your end of the beam?
Why, what have I done that you should go
back on me after working me up so down
there? The worst I've done," Mr. Bender
continued, "is to refuse that Moretto."
" Has it deplorably been offered you?" our
young man cried, unmistakably and sincerely
affected. After which he went on, as his
1 64 THE OUTCRY
fellow-visitor only eyed him hard, not, on
second thoughts, giving the owner of the great
work away: "Then why are you as if you
were a banished Romeo so keen for news
from Verona ? " To this odd mixture of busi-
ness and literature Mr. Bender made no reply,
contenting himself with but a large vague
blandness that wore in him somehow the mark
of tested utility ; so that Hugh put him another
question : " Aren't you here, sir, on the chance
of the Mantovano ? "
" I'm here," he then imperturbably said,
4 'because Lord Theign has wired me to meet
him. Ain't you here for that yourself?"
Hugh betrayed for a moment his enjoyment
of a "big" choice of answers. "Dear, no!
I've but been in, by Lady Sandgate's leave, to
see that grand Lawrence."
" Ah yes, she's very kind about it one does
go ' in.' " After which Mr. Bender had, even
in the atmosphere of his danger, a throb of
curiosity. "Is any one after that grand
Lawrence ? "
"Oh, I hope not," Hugh laughed, "unless
you again dreadfully are : wonderful thing as
it is and so just in its right place there."
THE OUTCRY 165
" You call it," Mr. Bender impartially in-
quired, "a very wonderful thing ?"
" Well, as a Lawrence, it has quite bowled
me over " Hugh spoke as for the strictly
aesthetic awkwardness of that. " But you
know I take my pictures hard." He gave a
punch to his hat, pressed for time in this con-
nection as he was glad truly to appear to his
friend. " I must make my little rapport."
Yet before it he did seek briefly to explain.
"We're a band of young men who care and
we watch the great things. Also for I must
give you the real truth about myself we watch
the great people."
"Well, I guess I'm used to being watched
if that's the worst you can do." To which Mr.
Bender added in his homely way : " But you
know, Mr. Crimble, what I'm really after."
Hugh's strategy on this would again have
peeped out for us. " The man in this morning's
' Journal ' appears at least to have discovered."
"Yes, the man in this morning's 'Journal'
has discovered three or four weeks as it
appears to take you here for everything after
my beginning to talk. Why, they knew I was
talking that time ago on the other side."
1 66 THE OUTCRY
"Oh, they know things in the States,"
Hugh cheerfully agreed, "so independently of
their happening! But you must have talked
"Well, I haven't so much talked as raved,"
Mr. Bender conceded "for I'm afraid that
when I do want a thing I rave till I get it.
You heard me at Dedborough, and your enter-
prising daily press has at last caught the echo."
"Then they'll make up for lost time! But
have you done it," Hugh asked, "to prepare
"An alibi ?"
" By 'raving,' as you say, the saddle on the
wrong horse. I don't think you at all believe
you'll get the Sir Joshua but meanwhile we
shall have cleared up the question of the
Mr. Bender, imperturbable, didn't speak till
he had done justice to this picture of his
subtlety. " Then, why on earth do you want
to boom the Moretto ? "
"You ask that," said Hugh, "because it's
the boomed thing that's most in peril ? "
"Well, it's the big, the bigger, the biggest
things, and if you drag their value to the light
THE OUTCRY 167
why shouldn't we want to grab them and carry
them off the same as all of you originally did ? "
" Ah, not quite the same," Hugh smiled
" that I will say for you ! "
" Yes, you stick it on now you have got an
eye for the rise in values. But I grant you
your unearned increment, and you ought to be
mighty glad that, to such a tune, I'll pay it
Our young man kept, during a moment's
thought, his eyes on his companion, and then
resumed with all intensity and candour :
"You may easily, Mr. Bender, be too much
for me as you appear too much for far greater
people. But may I ask you, very earnestly,
for your word on this, as to any case in which
that happens that when precious things, things
we are to lose here, are knocked down to you,
you'll let us at least take leave of them, let us
have a sight of them in London, before they're
borne off? "
Mr. Bender's big face fell almost with a crash.
" Hand them over, you mean, to the sandwich-
men on Bond Street ? "
" To one or other of the placard and poster
men I don't insist on the inserted human
1 68 THE OUTCRY
slice ! Let the great values, as a compensation
to us, be on view for three or four weeks."
" You ask me," Mr. Bender returned, "for a
general assurance to that effect ? "
" Well, a particular one so it be particular
enough," Hugh said "will do just for now.
Let me put in my plea for the issue well, of
the value that's actually in the scales."
" The Mantovano-Moretto ? "
" The Moretto-Mantovano ! "
Mr. Bender carnivorously smiled. " Hadn't
we better know which it is first ? "
Hugh had a motion of practical indifference
for this. "The public interest playing so
straight on the question may help to settle it.
By which I mean that it will profit enormously
the question of probability, of identity itself
will by the discussion it will create. The
discussion will promote certainty "
"And certainty," Mr. Bender massively
mused, "will kick up a row."
" Of course it will kick up a row! " Hugh
thoroughly guaranteed that. " You'll be, for
the month, the best-abused man in England
if you venture to remain here at all ; except,
naturally, poor Lord Theign."
THE OUTCRY 169
" Whom it won't be my interest, at the same
time, to worry into backing down."
" But whom it will be exceedingly mine to
practise on " and Hugh laughed as at the fun
before them "if I may entertain the sweet
hope of success. The only thing is from my
point of view," he went on "that backing
down before what he will call vulgar clamour
isn't in the least in his traditions, nothing less
so ; and that if there should be really too much
of it for his taste or his nerves he'll set his
handsome face as a stone and never budge an
inch. But at least again what I appeal to you
for will have taken place the picture will have
been seen by a lot of people who'll care."
" It will have been seen," Mr. Bender
amended "on the mere contingency of my
acquisition of it only if its present owner
" * Consents ' ? " Hugh almost derisively
echoed; "why, he'll propose it himself, he'll
insist on it, he'll put it through, once he's angry
enough as angry, I mean, as almost any
public criticism of a personal act of his will
be sure to make him ; and I'm afraid the strik-
ing criticism, or at least animadversion, of this
1 70 THE OUTCRY
morning, will have blown on his flame of
Inevitably a student of character, Mr. Bender
rose to the occasion. " Yes, I guess he's
" They've imputed to him" Hugh but
wanted to abound in that sense " an intention
of which after all he isn't guilty."
" So that " his listener glowed with inter-
ested optimism " if they don't look out, if
they impute it to him again, I guess he'll just
go and be guilty ! "
Hugh might at this moment have shown to
an initiated eye as fairly elated by the sense
of producing something of the effect he had
hoped. "You entertain the fond vision of
lashing them up to that mistake, oh fisher in
troubled waters ? " And then with a finer art,
as his companion, expansively bright but
crudely acute, eyed him in turn as if to sound
him: "The strongest thing in such a type
one does make out is his resentment of a
liberty taken ; and the most natural furthermore
is quite that he should feel almost anything
you do take uninvited from the groaning board
of his banquet of life to be such a liberty."
THE OUTCRY 171
Mr. Bender participated thus at his percep-
tive ease in the exposed aristocratic illusion.
" Yes, I guess he has always lived as he likes,
the way those of you who have got things fixed
for them do, over here ; and to have to quit it
on account of unpleasant remark " But he
gave up thoughtfully trying to express what
this must be ; reduced to the mere synthetic
interjection " My ! "
" That's it, Mr. Bender," Hugh said for the
consecration of such a moral ; " he won't quit it
without a hard struggle."
Mr. Bender hereupon at last gave himself
quite gaily away as to his high calculation of
impunity. " Well, I guess he won't struggle
too hard for me to hold on to him if I want
to ! "
" In the thick of the conflict then, however
that may be," Hugh returned, "don't forget
what I've urged on you the claim of our
desolate country." ,,-,:
But his friend had an answer to this. " My
natural interest, Mr. Crimble considering
what I do for it is in the claim of ours. But
I wish you were on my side ! "
" Not so much," Hugh hungrily and truth-
172 THE OUTCRY
fully laughed, "as I wish you were on mine!"
Decidedly none the less, he had to go.
" Good-bye for another look here!"
He reached the doorway of the second room,
where, however, his companion, freshly alert at
this, stayed him by a gesture. "How much is
she really worth ? "
" ' She ' ? " Hugh, staring a moment, was
miles at sea. "Lady Sandgate?"
" Her great-grandmother."
A responsible answer was prevented the
butler was again with them ; he had opened
wide the other door and he named to Mr.
Bender the personage under his convoy.
Hugh caught this from the inner threshold,
and it gave him his escape. " Oh, ask that
friend ! " With which he sought the further
passage to the staircase and street, while Lord
John arrived in charge of Mr. Gotch, who,
having remarked to the two occupants of the
front drawing-room that her ladyship would
come, left them together.
THE OUTCRY 173
" THEN Theign's not yet here ! " Lord John
had to resign himself as he greeted his Ameri-
can ally. " But he told me I should find you."
" He has kept me waiting," that gentleman
returned "but what's the matter with him
anyway ? "
" The matter with him " Lord John treated
such ignorance as irritating "must of course
be this beastly thing in the ' Journal.' '
Mr. Bender proclaimed, on the other hand,
his incapacity to seize such connections.
" What's the matter with the beastly thing ? "
"Why, aren't you aware that the stiffest bit
of it is a regular dig at you ? "
" If you call that a regular dig you can't have
had much experience of the Papers. I've
known them to dig much deeper."
"I've had no experience of such horrid
attacks, thank goodness ; but do you mean to
say," asked Lord John with the surprise of his
own delicacy, "that you don't unpleasantly feel
" Feel it where, my dear sir ? "
174 THE OUTCRY
" Why, God bless me, such impertinence,
everywhere ! "
" All over me at once ? " Mr. Bender took
refuge in easy humour. "Well, I'm a large
man so when I want to feel so much I look
out for something good. But what, if he
suffers from the blot on his ermine ain't that
what you wear ? does our friend propose to
do about it ? "
Lord John had a demur, which was immedi-
ately followed by the apprehension of support
in his uncertainty. Lady Sandgate was before
them, having reached them through the other
room, and to her he at once referred the
question. " What ^7/Theign propose, do you
think, Lady Sandgate, to do about it ? "
She breathed both her hospitality and her
vagueness. " To * do ' ? "
"Don't you know about the thing in the
' Journal ' awfully offensive all round ? "
" There'd be even a little pinch for you in it,"
Mr. Bender said to her " if you were bent on
fitting the shoe ! "
Well, she met it all as gaily as was compat-
ible with a firm look at her elder guest while
she took her place with them. " Oh, the shoes
THE OUTCRY 175
of such monsters as that are much too big for
poor me ! " But she was more specific for Lord
John. " I know only what Grace has just told
me ; but since it's a question of footgear dear
Theign will certainly what you may call
take his stand ! "
Lord John welcomed this assurance. "If I
know him he'll take it splendidly ! "
Mr. Bender's attention was genial, though
rather more detached. "And what while
he's about it will he take it particularly on ? "
"Oh, we've plenty of things, thank heaven,"
said Lady Sandgate, "for a man in Theign's
position to hold fast by ! "
Lord John freely confirmed it. " Scores and
scores rather ! And I will say for us that,
with the rotten way things seem going, the fact
may soon become a real convenience."
Mr. Bender seemed struck and not unsym-
pathetic. "I see that your system would be
rather a fraud if you hadn't pretty well fixed
that / "
Lady Sandgate spoke as one at present none
the less substantially warned and convinced.
"It doesn't, however, alter the fact that we've
thus in our ears the first growl of an outcry."
1 76 THE OUTCRY
" Ah," Lord John concurred, ''we've unmis-
takably the first growl of an outcry ! "
Mr. Bender's judgment on the matter paused
at sight of Lord Theign, introduced and an-
nounced, as Lord John spoke, by Gotch ; but
with the result of his addressing directly the
person so presenting himself. " Why, they
tell me that what this means, Lord Theign, is
the first growl of an outcry ! "
The appearance of the most eminent figure
in the group might have been held in itself to
testify to some such truth ; in the sense at least
that a certain conscious radiance, a gathered
light of battle in his lordship's aspect would
have been explained by his having taken the
full measure an inner success with which he
glowed of some high provocation. He was
flushed, but he bore it as the ensign of his
house ; he was so admirably, vividly dressed,
for the morning hour and for his journey, that
he shone as with the armour of a knight ; and
the whole effect of him, from head to foot, with
every jerk of his unconcern and every flash of
his ease, was to call attention to his being
utterly unshaken and knowing perfectly what
he was about. It was at this happy pitch
THE OUTCRY 177
that he replied to the prime upsetter of his
"I'm afraid I don't know what anything
means to you, Mr. Bender but it's exactly to
find out that I've asked you, with our friend
John, kindly to meet me here. For a very
brief conference, dear lady, by your good
leave," he went on to Lady Sandgate ; "at
which I'm only too pleased that you yourself
should assist. The ' first growl ' of any outcry,
I may mention to you all, affects me no more
than the last will ! "
" So I'm delighted to gather" Lady Sand-
gate took him straight up " that you don't let
go your inestimable Cure."
He at first quite stared superior " ' Let
go ' ? " but then treated it with a lighter
touch. " Upon my honour I might, you know
that dose of the daily press has made me
feel so fit! I arrive at any rate," he pursued
to the others and in particular to Mr. Bender,
" I arrive with my decision taken which I've
thought may perhaps interest you. If that
tuppeny rot is an attempt at an outcry I simply
nip it in the bud."
Lord John rejoicingly approved. "Abso-
i;8 THE OUTCRY
lutely the only way with the least self-respect
to treat it ! "
Lady Sandgate, on the other hand, sounded
a sceptical note. " But are you sure it's so
easy, Theign, to hush up a real noise ? "
"It ain't what I'd call a real one, Lady
Sandgate," Mr. Bender said ; " you can
generally distinguish a real one from the
squeak of two or three mice ! But granted
mice do affect you, Lord Theign, it will
interest me to hear what sort of a trap by
what you say you propose to set for them."
" You must allow me to measure, myself,
Mr. Bender," his lordship replied, "the import-
ance of a gross freedom publicly used with my
absolutely personal proceedings and affairs ;
to the cause and origin of any definite report
of which in such circles! I'm afraid I
rather wonder if you yourself can't give me a
It took Mr. Bender a minute to do justice to
these stately remarks. "You rather wonder
if I've talked of how I feel about your detaining
in your hands my Beautiful Duchess ? "
" Oh, if you've already published her as
* yours ' with your power of publication ! "
THE OUTCRY 179
Lord Theign coldly laughed, "of course I
trace the connection ! "
Mr. Bender's acceptance of responsibility
clearly cost him no shade of a pang. " Why,
I haven't for quite a while talked of a blessed
other thing and I'm capable of growing more
profane over my not getting her than I guess
any one would dare to be if I did."
"Well, you'll certainly not 'get' her, Mr.
Bender," Lady Sandgate, as for reasons of her
own, bravely trumpeted; "and even if there
were a chance of it don't you see that your
way wouldn't be publicly to abuse our noble
Mr. Bender but beamed, in reply, upon that
personage. " Oh, I guess our noble friend
knows I have to talk big about big things.
You understand, sir, the scream of the eagle !
"I'll forgive you," Lord Theign civilly
returned, "all the big talk you like if you'll
now understand me. My retort to that hireling
pack shall be at once to dispose of a picture."
Mr. Bender rather failed to follow. " But
that's what you wanted to do before."
" Pardon me," said his lordship " I make
a difference. It's what you wanted me to do."
i8o THE OUTCRY
The mystification, however, continued. " And
you were not as you seemed then willing ? "
Lord Theign waived cross-questions. "Well,
I'm willing now that's all that need concern us.
Only, once more and for the last time," he added
with all authority, "you can't have our Duchess!"
" You can't have our Duchess ! " and Lord
John, as before the altar of patriotism, wrapped
it in sacrificial sighs.
" You can't have our Duchess ! " Lady
Sandgate repeated, but with a grace that took
the sting from her triumph. And she seemed
still all sweet sociability as she added : " I wish
he'd tell you too, you dreadful rich thing, that
you can't have anything at all ! "
Lord Theign, however, in the interest of
harmony, deprecated that rigour. " Ah, what
then would become of my happy retort ? "
" And what as it is" Mr. Bender asked
" becomes of my unhappy grievance ? "
" Wouldn't a really great capture make up to
you for that ? "
" Well, I take more interest in what I want
than in what I have and it depends, don't
you see, on how you measure the size."
Lord John had at once in this connection a
THE OUTCRY 181
bright idea. "Shouldn't you like to go back
there and take the measure yourself?"
Mr. Bender considered him as through
narrowed eyelids. " Look again at that
" Well, its size as you say isn't in any
light a negligible quantity."
" You mean that big as it is it hasn't yet
stopped growing ? "
The question, however, as he immediately
showed, resided in what Lord Theign himself
meant. "It's more to the purpose," he said to
Mr. Bender, " that I should mention to you
the leading feature, or in other words the very
essence, of my plan of campaign which is to
put the picture at once on view." He marked
his idea with a broad but elegant gesture.
" On view as a thing definitely disposed of."
" I say, I say, I say ! " cried Lord John,
moved by this bold stroke to high admiration.
Lady Sandgate's approval was more qualified.
" But on view, dear Theign, how ? "
"With one of those pushing people in Bond
Street." And then as for the crushing climax
of his policy: "As a Mantovano pure and
182 THE OUTCRY
''But my dear man," she quavered, " if it
isnt one ? "
Mr. Bender at once anticipated ; the wind
had suddenly risen for him and he let out
sail. " Lady Sandgate, it's going, by all that's
well, interesting, to be one ! "
Lord Theign took him up with pleasure.
"You seize me? We treat it as one!"
Lord John eagerly borrowed the emphasis.
"We treat it as one!"
Mr. Bender meanwhile fed with an opened
appetite on the thought he even gave it
back larger. "As the long-lost Number
Lord Theign happily seized him. " That
will be it to a charm ! "
"It will make them," Mr. Bender asked,
"madder than anything?"
His patron if not his client put it more
nobly. "It will markedly affirm my attitude."
"Which will in turn the more markedly
"It may create all it will ! "
"Well, if you don't mind it, / don't!" Mr.
Bender concluded. But though bathed in this
high serenity he was all for the rapid applica-
THE OUTCRY 183
tion of it elsewhere. " You'll put the thing on
view right off? "
" As soon as the proper arrangement "
" You put off your journey to make it ? "
Lady Sandgate at once broke m.
Lord Theign bethought himself with the
effect of a gracious confidence in the others.
"Not if these friends will act."
"Oh, I guess we'll act!" Mr. Bender de-
" Ah, wont we though ! " Lord John re-
" You understand then I have an interest ? "
Mr. Bender went on to Lord Theign.
His lordship's irony met it. "I accept that
complication which so much simplifies ! "
" And yet also have a liberty ? "
"Where else would be those you've taken?
The point is," said Lord Theign, "that /have
It settled Mr. Bender. "Then I'll fix your
show." He snatched up his hat. " Lord John,
come right round ! "
Lord John had of himself reached the
door, which he opened to let the whirlwind
tremendously figured by his friend pass out
1 84 THE OUTCRY
first. Taking leave of the others he gave it
even his applause. " The fellow can do any-
thing anywhere ! " And he hastily followed.
LADY SANDGATE, left alone with Lord
Theign, drew the line at their companion's
enthusiasm. " That may be true of Mr.
Bender for it's dreadful how he bears one
down. But I simply find him a terror."
"Well," said her friend, who seemed
disposed not to fatigue the question, " I dare
say a terror will help me." He had other
business to which he at once gave himself.
" And now, if you please, for that girl."
"I'll send her to you," she replied, "if you
can't stay to luncheon."
"I've three or four things to do," he
pleaded, "and I lunch with Kitty at one."
She submitted in that case but dis-
appointedly. "With Berkeley Square then
you've time. But I confess I don't quite
grasp the so odd inspiration that you've set
those men to carry out."
THE OUTCRY 185
He showed surprise and regret, but even
greater decision. " Then it needn't trouble
you, dear it's enough that I myself go
"Are you so very convinced it's straight?"
she wouldn't be a bore to him, but she
couldn't not be a blessing.
"What in the world else is it," he
asked, "when, having good reasons, one acts
"You must have an immense array," she
sighed, " to fly so in the face of Opinion ! "
" ' Opinion ' ? " he commented " I fly in its
face? Why, the vulgar thing, as I'm taking
my quiet walk, flies in mine ! I give it a
whack with my umbrella and send it about its
business.'* To which he added with more
reproach : "It's enough to have been dished
by Grace without your falling away ! "
Sadly and sweetly she defended herself.
"It's only my great affection and all that
these years have been for us : they it is that
make me wish you weren't so proud."
" I've a perfect sense, my dear, of what these
years have been for us a very charming
matter. But ' proud ' is it you find me of the
1 86 THE OUTCRY
daughter who does her best to ruin me, or of
the one who does her best to humiliate ? "
Lady Sandgate, not undiscernibly, took her
choice of ignoring the point of this. "Your
surrenders to Kitty are your own affair but
are you sure you can really bear to see
Grace ? "
" I seem expected indeed to bear much," he
said with more and more of his parental
bitterness, "but I don't know that Fm yet in
a funk before my child. Doesn't she want to
see me, with any contrition, after the trick
she has played me?" And then as his
companion's answer failed : "In spite of which
trick you suggest that I should leave the
country with no sign of her explaining ?"
His hostess raised her head. " She does
want to see you, I know ; but you must recall
the sequel to that bad hour at Dedborough
when it was you who declined to see her."
" Before she left the house with you, the
next day, for this ? " he was entirely reminis-
cent. " What I recall is that even if I had
condoned that evening her deception of me,
in my folly, I still loathed, for my friend's sake,
her practical joke on poor John."
THE OUTCRY 187
Lady Sandgate indulged in the shrug
conciliatory. " It was your very complaint
that your own appeal to her became an appeal
"Yes," he returned, so well he remembered,
''she was about as civil to me then picking
a quarrel with me on such a trumped-up
ground ! as that devil of a fellow in the
newspapers ; the taste of whose elegant remarks,
for that matter, she must now altogether
enjoy ! "
His good friend showily balanced and might
have been about to reply with weight ; but
what she in fact brought out was only : " I see
you're right about it : I must let her speak for
" That I shall greatly prefer to her speaking
as she did so extraordinarily, out of the blue,
at Dedborough, upon my honour for the
wonderful friends she picks up : the picture-man
introduced by her (what was his name ?) who
regularly ' cheeked ' me, as I suppose he'd call
it, in my own house, and whom I hope, by the
way, that under this roof she's not able to be
quite so thick with ! "
If Lady Sandgate winced at that vain dream
i88 THE OUTCRY
she managed not to betray it, and she had, in
any embarrassment on this matter, the support,
as we know, of her own tried policy. " She
leads her life under this roof very much as
under yours ; and she's not of an age, remem-
ber, for me to pretend either to watch her
movements or to control her contacts." Leav-
ing him however thus to perform his pleasure
the charming woman had before she went an
abrupt change of tone. "Whatever your
relations with others, dear friend, don't forget
that I'm still here."
Lord Theign accepted the reminder, though,
the circumstances being such, it scarce moved
him to ecstasy. " That you're here, thank
heaven, is of course a comfort or would be if
"Ah," she submissively sighed, "if I don't
always * understand ' a spirit so much higher
than mine and a situation so much more com-
plicated certainly, I at least always defer, I at
least always well, what can I say but wor-
ship ? " And then as he remained not other
than finely passive, "The old altar, Theign,"
she went on "and a spark of the old fire ! "
He had not looked at her on this it was as
THE OUTCRY 189
if he shrank, with his preoccupations, from a
tender passage ; but he let her take his left
hand. " So I feel ! " he was, however, kind
enough to answer.
" Do feel ! " she returned with much con-
centration. She raised the hand to her
pressed lips, dropped it and with a rich
''Good-bye!" reached the threshold of the
" May I smoke ? " he asked before she had
" Dear, yes ! "
He had meanwhile taken out his cigarette
case and was looking about for a match. But
something else occurred to him. " You must
come to Victoria."
" Rather ! " she said with intensity ; and
with that she passed away.
LEFT alone he had a moment's meditation
where he stood ; it found issue in an articulate
" Poor dear thing ! " an exclamation marked
1 90 THE OUTCRY
at once with patience and impatience, with
resignation and ridicule. After which, wait-
ing for his daughter, Lord Theign slowly and
absently roamed, finding matches at last and
lighting his cigarette all with an air of con-
cern that had settled on him more heavily from
the moment of his finding himself alone. His
luxury of gloom if gloom it was dropped,
however, on his taking heed of Lady Grace,
who, arriving on the scene through the other
room, had had just time to stand and watch
him in silence.
" Oh ! " he jerked out at sight of her which
she had to content herself with as a parental
greeting after separation, his next words doing
little to qualify its dryness. " I take it for
granted that you know I'm within a couple of
hours of leaving England under a necessity of
health." And then as, drawing nearer, she
signified without speaking her possession of
this fact : " I've thought accordingly that
before I go I should on this first possible
occasion since that odious occurrence at
Dedborough like to leave you a little more
food for meditation, in my absence, on the
painfully false position in which you there
THE OUTCRY 191
placed me." He carried himself restlessly
even perhaps with a shade of awkwardness,
to which her stillness was a contrast ; she just
waited, wholly passive possibly indeed a trifle
portentous. " If you had plotted and planned
it in advance," he none the less firmly pursued,
"if you had acted from some uncanny or
malignant motive, you couldn't have arranged
more perfectly to incommode, to disconcert
and, to all intents and purposes, make light of
me and insult me." Even before this charge
she made no sign ; with her eyes now attached
to the ground she let him proceed. " I had
practically guaranteed to our excellent, our
charming friend, your favourable view of his
appeal which you yourself too, remember,
had left him in so little doubt of! so that,
having by your performance so egregiously
failed him, I have the pleasure of their coming
down on me for explanations, for compensa-
tions, and for God knows what besides."
Lady Grace, looking up at last, left him
in no doubt of the rigour of her attention.
"I'm sorry indeed, father, to have done you
any wrong ; but may I ask whom, in such a
connection, you refer to as ' they ' ? "
192 THE OUTCRY
"'They'?" he echoed in the manner of a
man who has had handed back to his more
careful eye, across the counter, some question-
able coin that he has tried to pass. "Why,
your own sister to begin with whose interest
in what may make for your happiness I suppose
you decently recognise ; and his people, one
and all, the delightful old Duchess in particular,
who only wanted to be charming to you, and
who are as good people, and as pleasant and as
clever, damn it, when all's said and done, as
any others that are likely to come your way."
It clearly did his lordship good to work out
thus his case, which grew more and more
coherent to him and glowed with irresistible
colour. " Letting alone gallant John himself,
most amiable of men, about whose merits and
whose claims you appear to have pretended to
agree with me just that you might, when he
presumed, poor chap, ardently to urge them,
deal him with the more cruel effect that calcu-
lated blow on the mouth ! "
It was clear that in the girl's great gravity
embarrassment had no share. " They so come
down on you I understand then, father, that
you're obliged to come down on me ? "
THE OUTCRY 193
" Assuredly for some better satisfaction
than your just moping here without a sign ! "
" But a sign of what, father ?" she asked
as helpless as a lone islander scanning the
horizon for a sail.
" Of your appreciating, of your in some
degree dutifully considering, the predicament
into which you've put me ! "
" Hasn't it occurred to you in the least that
you've rather put me into one ? "
He threw back his head as from exasperated
nerves. " I put you certainly in the predica-
ment of your receiving by my care a handsome
settlement in life which all the elements that
would make for your enjoying it had every
appearance of successfully commending to
you." The perfect readiness of which on his
lips had, like a higher wave, the virtue of lift-
ing and dropping him to still more tangible
ground. " And if I understand you aright as
wishing to know whether I apologise for that
zeal, why you take a most preposterous view of
our relation as father and daughter."
" You understand me no better than I fear I
understand you," Lady Grace returned, "if
what you expect of me is really to take back
i 9 4 THE OUTCRY
my words to Lord John." And then as he
didn't answer, while their breach gaped like a
jostled wound, " Have you seriously come to
propose and from him again," she added
"that I shall reconsider my resolute act and
lend myself to your beautiful arrangement ? "
It had so the sound of unmixed ridicule that
he could only, for his dignity, not give way to
passion. " I've come, above all, for this, I
may say, Grace : to remind you of whom
you're addressing when you jibe at me, and to
make of you assuredly a plain demand ex-
actly as to whether you judged us to have
actively incurred your treatment of our un-
happy friend, to have brought it upon us, he
and I, by my refusal to discuss with you at
such a crisis the question of my disposition of a
particular item of my property. I've only to
look at you, for that matter," Lord Theign
continued always with a finer point and a
higher consistency as his rehearsal of his
wrongs broadened "to have my inquiry, as
it seems to me, eloquently answered. You
flounced away from poor John, you took, as he
tells me, 'his head off/ just to repay me for
what you chose to regard as my snub on the
THE OUTCRY 195
score of your challenging my entertainment of
a possible purchaser ; a rebuke launched at me,
practically, in the presence of a most inferior
person, a stranger and an intruder, from whom
you had all the air of taking your cue for
naming me the great condition on which you'd
gratify my hope. Am I to understand, in
other words " and his lordship mounted to a
climax " that you sent us about our business
because I failed to gratify your hope : that of
my knocking under to your sudden monstrous
pretension to lay down the law for my choice
of ways and means of raising, to my best
convenience, a considerable sum of money ?
You'll be so good as to understand, once for all,
that I recognise there no right of interference
from any quarter and also to let that know-
ledge govern your behaviour in my absence."
Lady Grace had thus for some minutes
waited on his words waited even as almost
with anxiety for the safe conduct he might
look to from some of the more extravagant
of them. But he at least felt at the end
if it was an end all he owed them ; so that
there was nothing for her but to accept as
achieved his dreadful felicity. " You're very
1 96 THE OUTCRY
angry with me, and I hope you won't feel me
simply ' aggravating ' if I say that, thinking
everything over, I've done my best to allow for
that. But I can answer your question if I do
answer it by saying that my discovery of your
possible sacrifice of one of our most beautiful
things didn't predispose me to decide in favour
of a person however 'backed' by you for
whose benefit the sacrifice was to take place.
Frankly," the girl pushed on, " I did quite
hate, for the moment, everything that might
make for such a mistake ; and took the darkest
view, let me also confess, of every one, without
exception, connected with it. I interceded
with you, earnestly, for our precious picture,
and you wouldn't on any terms have my inter-
cession. On top of that Lord John blundered
in, without timeliness or tact and I'm afraid
that, as I hadn't been the least in love with
him even before, he did have to take the
Lord Theign, with an elated swing of his
person, greeted this as all he could possibly
want. "You recognise then that your reception
of him was purely vindictive ! the meaning of
which is that unless my conduct of my private
THE OUTCRY 197
interests, of which you know nothing whatever,
happens to square with your superior wisdom
you'll put me under boycott all round ! While
you chatter about mistakes and blunders, and
about our charming friend's lack of the
discretion of which you yourself set so grand
an example, what account have you to offer
of the scene you made me there before that
fellow your confederate, as he had all the air of
being! by giving it me with such effrontery
that, if I had eminently done with him after
his remarkable display, you at least were but
the more determined to see him keep it up ? "
The girl's justification, clearly, was very
present to her, and not less obviously the truth
that to make it strong she must, avoiding
every side-issue, keep it very simple. *' The
only account I can give you, I think, is that
I could but speak at such a moment as I felt,
and that I felt well, how can I say how
deeply? If you can really bear to know, I
feel so still, I care in fact more than ever that
we shouldn't do such things. I care, if you
like, to indiscretion I care, if you like, to
offence, to arrogance, to folly. But even as
my last word to you before you leave England
198 THE OUTCRY
on the conclusion of such a step, I'm ready to
cry out to you that you oughtn't, you oughtn't,
you oughtn't ! "
Her father, with wonder-moved, elevated
brows and high commanding hand, checked
her as in an act really of violence save that,
like an inflamed young priestess, she had
already, in essence, delivered her message.
" Hallo, hallo, hallo, my distracted daughter
no 'crying out,' if you please!" After
which, while arrested but unabashed, she still
kept her lighted eyes on him, he gave back
her conscious stare for a minute, inwardly
and rapidly turning things over, making con-
nections, taking, as after some long and
lamentable lapse of observation, a new strange
measure of her : all to the upshot of his then
speaking with a difference of tone, a recognition
of still more of the odious than he had
supposed, so that the case might really call for
some coolness. "You keep bad company,
Grace it plays the devil with your sense of
proportion. If you make this row when I sell
a picture, what will be left to you when I
forge a cheque ? "
" If you had arrived at the necessity of
THE OUTCRY 199
forging a cheque," she answered, " I should
then resign myself to that of your selling a
" But not short of that ! "
" Not short of that. Not one of ours."
"But I couldn't," said his lordship with his
best and coldest amusement, "sell one of some-
body else's ! "
She was, however, not disconcerted. " Other
people do other things they appear to have
done them, and to be doing them, all about us.
But we have been so decently different always
and ever. We've never done anything dis-
" ' Disloyal ' ? " he was more largely amazed
and even interested now.
Lady Grace stuck to her word. " That's
what it seems to me I "
"It seems to you" and his sarcasm here
was easy "more disloyal to sell a picture than
to buy one ? Because we didn't paint 'em all
ourselves, you know ! "
She threw up impatient hands. " I don't
ask you either to paint or to buy ! "
" Oh, thafs a mercy ! " he interrupted, riding
his irony hard; "and I'm glad to hear you at
200 THE OUTCRY
least let me off suck efforts! However, if it
strikes you as gracefully filial to apply to your
father's conduct so invidious a word," he went
on less scathingly, " you must take from him,
in your turn, his quite other view of what
makes disloyalty understanding distinctly, by
the same token, that he enjoins on you not to
give an odious illustration of it, while he's
away, by discussing and deploring with any one
of your extraordinary friends any aspect or
feature whatever of his walk and conversation.
That pressed as I am for time," he went on
with a glance at his watch while she remained
silent " is the main sense of what I have to
say to you ; so that I count on your perfect
conformity. When you have told me that I
may so count " and casting about for his hat
he espied it and went to take it up " I shall
more cordially bid you good-bye."
His daughter looked as if she had been for
some time expecting the law thus imposed
upon her had been seeing where he must
come out ; but in spite of this preparation she
made him wait for his reply in such tension as
he had himself created. "To Kitty I've
practically said nothing and she herself can
THE OUTCRY 201
tell you why : I've in fact scarcely seen her
this fortnight. Putting aside then Amy Sand-
gate, the only person to whom I've spoken of
your 'sacrifice,' as I suppose you'll let me call
it? is Mr. Hugh Crimble, whom you talk of
as my 'confederate' at Dedborough."
Lord Theign recovered the name with relief.
"Mr. Hugh Crimble that's it! whom you
so amazingly caused to be present, and ap-
parently invited to be active, at a business
that so little concerned him."
"He certainly took upon himself to be
interested, as I had hoped he would. But it
was because I had taken upon my self "
"To act, yes," Lord Theign broke in, "with
the grossest want of delicacy ! Well, it's from
that exactly that you'll now forbear ; and ' in-
terested ' as he may be for which I'm deucedly
obliged to him ! you'll not speak to Mr.
" Never again ?" the girl put it as for full
" Never of the question that I thus exclude.
You may chatter your fill," said his lordship
curtly, "about any others."
"Why, the particular question you forbid,"
202 THE OUTCRY
Grace returned with great force, but as if
saying something very reasonable "that
question is the question we care about: it's
our very ground of conversation."
"Then," her father decreed, " your conversa-
tion will please to dispense with a ground ; or
you'll perhaps, better still if that's the only
way! dispense with your conversation."
Lady Grace took a moment as if to examine
this more closely. " You require of me not
to communicate with Mr. Crimble at all ? "
" Most assuredly I require it since it's to
that you insist on reducing me." He didn't
look reduced, the master of Dedborough,
as he spoke which was doubtless precisely
because he held his head so high to affirm
what he suffered. "Is it so essential to your
comfort," he demanded, "to hear him, or to
make him, abuse me ? "
"'Abusing 1 you, father dear, has nothing
whatever to do with it ! " his daughter had
fairly lapsed, with a despairing gesture, to the
tenderness involved in her compassion for his
perversity. " We look at the thing in a much
larger way," she pursued, not heeding that she
drew from him a sound of scorn for her ( ' larger."
THE OUTCRY 203
"It's of our Treasure itself we talk, and of what
can be done in such cases ; though with a close
application, I admit, to the case that you em-
"Ah," Lord Theign asked as with absurd
iriosity, "I embody a case?"
" Wonderfully, father as you do everything ;
id it's the fact of its being exceptional," she
explained, " that makes it so difficult to deal
His lordship had a gape for it. " 'To deal
with ' ? You're undertaking to ' deal ' with me ? "
She smiled more frankly now, as for a rift
in the gloom. "Well, how can we help it if
you will be a case ? " And then as her tone
but visibly darkened his wonder : " What we've
set our hearts on is saving the picture."
" What you've set your hearts on, in other
words, is working straight against me ? "
But she persisted without heat. " What
we've set our hearts on is working for England."
"And pray who in the world's England,"
he cried in his stupefaction, " unless / am ? "
" Dear, dear father," she pleaded, "that's all
we want you to be ! I mean " she didn't fear
firmly to force it home " in the real, the right,
204 THE OUTCRY
the grand sense ; the sense that, you see, is so
"'Ours'?" he couldn't but again throw
back her word at her. " Isn't it, damn you,
just in ours ? "
"No, no," she interrupted " not in ours!"
She smiled at him still, though it was strained,
as if he really ought to perceive.
But he glared as at a senseless juggle.
"What and who the devil are you talking
about? What are 'we,' the whole blest lot of
us, pray, but the best and most English thing
in the country : people walking and riding !
straight ; doing, disinterestedly, most of the
difficult and all the thankless jobs ; minding
their own business, above all, and expecting
others to mind theirs ? " So he let her " have "
the stout sound truth, as it were and so the
direct force of it clearly might, by his view,
have made her reel. " You and I, my lady, and
your two decent brothers, God be thanked for
them, and mine into the bargain, and all the
rest, the jolly lot of us, take us together make
us numerous enough without any foreign aid or
mixture : if that's what I understand you to
mean ! "
THE OUTCRY 205
" You don't understand me at all evidently ;
and above all I see you don't want to ! " she had
the bravery to add. " By ' our ' sense of what's
due to the nation in such a case I mean Mr.
Crimble's and mine and nobody's else at all ;
since, as I tell you, it's only with him I've talked."
It gave him then, every inch of him showed,
the full, the grotesque measure of the scandal
he faced. " So that 'you and Mr. Crimble '
represent the standard, for me, in your opinion,
of the proprieties and duties of our house ? "
Well, she was too earnest as she clearly
wished to let him see to mind his perversion
of it. " I express to you the way we feel."
" It's most striking to hear, certainly, what
you express " he had positively to laugh for it ;
"and you speak of him, with your insufferable
' we,' as if you were presenting him as your
God knows what ! You've enjoyed a large
exchange of ideas, I gather, to have arrived at
such unanimity." And then, as if to fall into
no trap he might somehow be laying for her,
she dropped all eagerness and rebutted nothing :
" You must see a great deal of your fellow-
critic not to be able to speak of yourself
without him ! "
206 THE OUTCRY
" Yes, we're fellow-critics, father" she
accepted this opening. " I perfectly adopt your
term." But it took her a minute to go further.
" I saw Mr. Crimble here half an hour ago."
" Saw him ' here ' ? " Lord Theign amazedly
asked, " He comes to you here and Amy
Sandgate has been silent ? "
" It wasn't her business to tell you since,
you see, she could leave it to me. And I
quite expect," Lady Grace then produced,
"that he'll come again."
It brought down with a bang all her father's
authority. " Then I simply exact of you that
you don't see him."
The pause of which she paid it the deference
was charged like a brimming cup. "Is that what
you really meant by your condition just now
that when I do see him I shall not speak to him?"
"What I 'really meant' is what I really
mean that you bow to the law I lay upon you
and drop the man altogether."
" Have nothing to do with him at all ? "
" Have nothing to do with him at all."
' In fact " she took it in "give him wholly
He had an impatient gesture. " You sound
THE OUTCRY 207
as if I asked you to give up a fortune ! " And
then, though she had phrased his idea without
consternation verily as if it had been in the
balance for her he might have been moved by
something that gathered in her eyes. " You're
so wrapped up in him that the precious sacrifice
is like that sort of thing ? "
Lady Grace took her time but showed,
as her eyes continued to hold him, what had
gathered. " I like Mr. Crimble exceedingly,
father I think him clever, intelligent, good ; I
want what he wants I want it, I think, really,
as much ; and I don't at all deny that he has
helped to make me so want it. But that
doesn't matter. I'll wholly cease to see him,
I '11 give him up forever, if if ! " She faltered,
however, she hung fire with a smile that anxi-
ously, intensely appealed. Then she began and
stopped again, "If if !" while her father
caught her up with irritation.
" ' If,' my lady ? If what, please ? "
"If you'll withdraw the offer of our picture
to Mr. Bender and never make another to
any one else ! "
He stood staring as at the size of it then
translated it into his own terms. "If I'll
208 THE OUTCRY
obligingly announce to the world that I've
made an ass of myself you'll kindly forbear
from your united effort the charming pair of
you to show me up for one ? "
Lady Grace, as if consciously not caring or
attempting to answer this, simply gave the
first flare of his criticism time to drop. It
wasn't till a minute passed that she said :
" You don't agree to my compromise ? "
Ah, the question but fatally sharpened at a
stroke the stiffness of his spirit. "Good God,
I'm to 'compromise' on top of everything?
I'm to let you browbeat me, haggle and bargain
with me, over a thing that I'm entitled to settle
with you as things have ever been settled among
us, by uttering to you my last parental word ? "
1 'You don't care enough then for what you
name ? " she took it up as scarce heeding now
what he said.
"For putting an end to your odious com-
merce ? I give you the measure, on the con-
trary," said Lord Theign, " of how much I care :
as you give me, very strangely indeed, it strikes
me, that of what it costs you ! " But his other
words were lost in the hard long look at her
from which he broke off in turn as for disgust.
THE OUTCRY 209
It was with an effect of decently shielding
herself the unuttered meaning came so straight
that she substituted words of her own. " Of
what it costs me to redeem the picture ? "
"To lose your tenth-rate friend" he spoke
without scruple now.
She instantly broke into ardent deprecation,
pleading at once and warning. " Father,
father, oh! You hold the thing in your
He pulled up before her again as to thrust
the responsibility straight back. " My orders
then are so much rubbish to you ? "
Lady Grace held her ground, and they re-
mained face to face in opposition and accusation,
neither making the other the sign of peace.
But the girl at least had, in her way, held out
the olive-branch, while Lord Theign had but
reaffirmed his will. It was for her acceptance
of this that he searched her, her last word not
having yet come. Before it had done so, how-
ever, the door from the lobby opened and Mr.
Gotch had regained their presence. This
appeared to determine in Lady Grace a view
of the importance of delay, which she signified
to her companion in a " Well I must think ! "
210 THE OUTCRY
For the butler positively resounded, and Hugh
"Mr. Crimble!" Mr. Gotch proclaimed
with the further extravagance of projecting the
visitor straight upon his lordship.
OUR young man showed another face than the
face his friend had lately seen him carry off,
and he now turned it distressfully from that
source of inspiration to Lord Theign, who was
flagrantly, even from this first moment, no such
source at all, and then from his noble adversary
back again, under pressure of difficulty and
effort, to Lady Grace, whom he directly ad-
dressed. " Here I am again, you see and
I've got my news, worse luck!" But his
manner to her father was the next instant more
brisk. " I learned you were here, my lord ;
but as the case is important I told them it was
all right and came up. I've been to my club,"
he added for the girl, "and found the tiresome
thing ! " But he broke down breathless.
THE OUTCRY 211
"And it isn't good?" she cried with the
Ruefully, yet not abjectly, he confessed,
" Not so good as I hoped. For I assure
you, my lord, I counted "
"It's the report from Pappendick about the
picture at Verona," Lady Grace interruptingly
Hugh took it up, but, as we should well have
seen, under embarrassment dismally deeper ;
the ugly particular defeat he had to announce
showing thus, in his thought, for a more
awkward force than any reviving possibilities
that he might have begun to balance against
them. " The man I told you about also," he
said to his formidable patron ; " whom I went
to Brussels to talk with and who, most kindly,
has gone for us to Verona. He has been able
to get straight at their Mantovano, but the
brute horribly wires me that he doesn't quite
see the thing ; see, I mean " and he gathered
his two hearers together now in his overflow
of chagrin, conscious, with his break of the
ice, more exclusively of that " my vivid vital
point, the absolute screaming identity of the
two persons represented. I still hold," he
2 12 THE OUTCRY
persuasively went on, " that our man is their
man, but Pappendick decides that he isn't
and as Pappendick has so much to be reckoned
with of course I'm awfully abashed."
Lord Theign had remained what he had
begun by being, immeasurably and inaccessibly
detached only with his curiosity more moved
than he could help and as, on second thought,
to see what sort of a still more offensive fool
the heated youth would really make of himself.
"Yes you seem indeed remarkably abashed ! "
Hugh clearly was thrown again, by the cold
" cut " of this, colder than any mere social
ignoring, upon a sense of the damnably poor
figure he did offer ; so that, while he
straightened himself and kept a mastery of
his manner and a control of his reply, we
should yet have felt his cheek tingle. " I
backed my own judgment strongly, I know
and I've got my snub. But I don't in the
least knock under."
" Only the first authority in Europe doesn't
care, I suppose, whether you do or not ! "
"He isn't the first authority in Europe,
thank God," the young man returned
"though he is, I admit, one of the three
THE OUTCRY 213
or four first. And I mean to appeal I've
another shot in my locker," he went on with
his rather painfully forced smile to Lady
Grace. " I had already written, you see, to
dear old Bardi."
" Bardi of Milan?" she recognised, it was
admirably manifest, the appeal of his directness
to her generosity, awkward as their predica-
ment was also for her herself, and spoke to him
as she might have spoken without her father's
It would have shown for beautiful, on the
spot, had there been any one to perceive it,
that he devoutly recorded her intelligence.
1 'You know of him? how delightful of you!
For the Italians, I now feel," he quickly
explained, "he must have most the instinct
and it has come over me since that he'd have
been more our man. Besides of course his so
knowing the Verona picture."
She had fairly hung on his. lips. " But does
he know ours ? "
" No not ours yet. That is" he con-
sciously and quickly took himself up " not
yours ! But as Pappendick went to Verona for
us I've asked Bardi to do us the great favour
2i 4 THE OUTCRY
to come here if Lord Theign will be so good,"
he said, bethinking himself with a turn, "as
to let him examine the Moretto." He faced
again to the personage he mentioned, who,
simply standing off and watching, in concen-
trated interest as well as detachment, this
interview of his cool daughter and her still
cooler guest, had plainly "elected," as it were,
to give them rope to hang themselves. Star-
ing very hard at Hugh he met his appeal, but
in a silence clearly calculated ; against which,
however, the young man, bearing up, made
such head as he could. He offered his next
word, that is, equally to the two companions.
"It's not at all impossible for such curious
effects have been ! that the Dedborough
picture seen after the Verona will point a
different moral from the Verona seen after the
" And so awfully long after wasn't it ? "
Lady Grace asked.
"Awfully long after it was years ago that
Pappendick, being in this country for such
purposes, was kindly admitted to your house
when none of you were there, or at least
THE OUTCRY 215
"Oh of course we don't see every one!"
she heroically kept it up.
"You don't see every one," Hugh bravely
laughed, "and that makes it all the more
charming that you did, and that you still do,
see me. I shall really get Bardi," he pursued,
"to go again to Verona "
" The last thing before coming here ? "
she had guessed before he could say it ; and
still she sustained it, so that he could shine at
her for assent. "How happy they should
like so to work for you ! "
"Ah, we're a band of brothers," he returned
" 'we few, we happy few' from country to
country " ; to which he added, gaining more
ease for an eye at Lord Theign : " though we
do have our little rubs and disputes, like
Pappendick and me now. The thing, you see,
is the ripping interest of it all ; since," he
developed and explained, for his elder friend's
benefit, with pertinacious cheer and an assur-
ance superficially at least recovered, " when
we're really ' hit ' over a case we'll do almost
anything in life."
Lady Grace, recklessly throbbing in the
breath of it all, immediately appropriated what
2i6 THE OUTCRY
her father let alone. "It must be so lovely to
feel so hit!"
"It does spoil one," Hugh laughed, "for
milder joys. Of course what I have to
consider is the chance putting it at the merest
chance of Bardi's own wet blanket ! But
that's again so very small though,' 1 he pulled
up with a drop to the comparative dismal,
which he offered as an almost familiar tribute
to Lord Theign, "you'll retort upon me
naturally that I promised you the possibility
of Pappendick's veto would be : all on the poor
dear old basis, you'll claim, of the wish father
to the thought. Well, I do wish to be right as
much as I believe I am. Only give me time ! "
he sublimely insisted.
" How can we prevent your using it ? " Lady
Grace again interrupted; "or the fact either
that if the worst comes to the worst "
"The thing" he at once pursued "will
always be at the least the greatest of Morettos ?
Ah," he cried so cheerily that there was still a
freedom in it toward any it might concern,
"the worst sha'n't come to the worst, but the
best to the best : my conviction of which it is
that supports me in the deep regret I have to
THE OUTCRY 217
express " and he faced Lord Theign again
"for any inconvenience I may have caused
you by my abortive undertaking. That, I vow
here before Lady Grace, I will yet more than
make up ! "
Lord Theign, after the longest but the
blankest contemplation of him, broke hereupon,
for the first time, that attitude of completely
sustained and separate silence which he had
yet made compatible with his air of having
deeply noted every element of the scene so
that it was of this full view his participation
had effectively consisted. " I haven't the least
idea, sir, what you're talking about ! " And he
squarely turned his back, strolling toward the
other room, the threshold of which he the next
moment had passed, remaining scantily within,
however, and in sight of the others, not to
say of ourselves ; even though averted and
ostensibly lost in some scrutiny that might
have had for its object the great enshrined
There ensued upon his words and move-
ment a vivid mute passage, the richest of
commentaries, between his companions; who,
deeply divided by the width of the ample
2i8 THE OUTCRY
room, followed him with their eyes and then
used for their own interchange these organs of
remark, eloquent now over Hugh's unmis-
takable dismissal at short order, on which
obviously he must at once act. Lady Grace's
young arms conveyed to him by a despairing
contrite motion of surrender that she had done
for him all she could do in his presence and
that, however sharply doubtful the result, he
was to leave the rest to herself. They com-
municated thus, the strenuous pair, for their
full moment, without speaking ; only with the
prolonged, the charged give and take of their
gaze and, it might well have been imagined, of
their passion. Hugh had for an instant a show
of hesitation of the arrested impulse, while he
kept her father within range, to launch at that
personage before going some final remonstrance.
It was the girl's raised hand and gesture of
warning that waved away for him such a
mistake ; he decided, under her pressure, and
after a last searching and answering look at
her reached the door and let himself out. The
stillness was then prolonged a minute by the
further wait of the two others, Lord Theign
where he had been standing and his daughter
THE OUTCRY 219
on the spot from which she had not moved.
It presently ended in his lordship's turn about
as if inferring by the silence that the intruder
" Is that young man your lover ? " he said
as he drew again near.
Lady Grace waited a little, but spoke as
quietly as if she had been prepared. "Has
the question a bearing on the promise you a
short time ago demanded of me ? "
"It has a bearing on the so extraordinary
appearance of your intimacy with him ! "
" You mean that if he should be what you
ask me about your exaction would then be
modified ? "
" My request that you break it short off?
That request would, on the contrary," Lord
Theign pronounced, " rest on an immense new
ground. Therefore I insist on your telling me
"Won't the truth be before you, father, if
you'll think a moment without extrava-
gance?" After which, while, as stiffly as
ever and it probably seemed to her im-
patience as stupidly he didn't rise to it, she
went on : " If I offered you not again to see
220 THE OUTCRY
him, does that make for you the appear-
ance ? "
"If you offered it, you mean, on your con-
dition my promising not to sell ? I promised,"
said Lord Theign, " absolutely nothing at all ! "
She took him up with all expression. " So
I promised as little ! But that I should have
been able to say what I did sufficiently meets
She might, wronged as she held herself, have
felt him stupid not to see how wronged ; but he
was in any case acute for an evasion. " You
risked your offer for the great equivalent over
which you've so wildly worked yourself up."
" Yes, I've worked myself that, I grant you
and don't blush for ! But hardly so much as to
renounce my 'lover' if," she prodigiously
smiled, " I were so fortunate as to have one ! "
" You renounced poor John mightily easily
whom you were so fortunate as to have ! "
Her brows rose as high as his own had ever
done. " Do you call Lord John my lover?"
" He was your suitor most assuredly," Lord
Theign inimitably said, though without looking
at her; "and as strikingly encouraged as he
was respectfully ardent ! "
THE OUTCRY 221
" Encouraged by you, dear father, beyond
doubt ! "
" Encouraged er by every one: because
you were (yes, you were /) encouraging. And
what I ask of you now is a word of common
candour as to whether you didn't, on your
honour, turn him off because of your just then
so stimulated views on the person who has
been with us."
Grace replied but after an instant, as moved
by more things than she could say moved
above all, in her trouble and her pity for him,
by other things than harshness : " Oh father,
father, father ! "
He searched her through all the compassion
of her cry, but appeared to give way to her
sincerity. " Well then if I have your denial I
take it as answering my whole question in a
manner that satisfies me. If there's nothing,
on your word, of that sort between you, you
can all the more drop him."
" But you said a moment ago that I should
all the more in the other case that of there
being something ! "
He brushed away her logic-chopping. " If
you're so keen then for past remarks I take up
222 THE OUTCRY
your own words I accept your own terms for
your putting an end to Mr. Crimble." To
which, while, turning pale, she said nothing, he
added : " You recognise that you profess your-
self ready "
" Not again to see him," she now answered,
"if you tell me the picture's safe? Yes, I
recognise that I was ready as well as how
scornfully little you then were ! "
" Never mind what I then was the ques-
tion's of what I actually am, since I close
with you on it. The picture's therefore as
safe as you please," Lord Theign pursued,
" if you'll do what you just now engaged
" I engaged to do nothing," she replied after
a pause ; and the face she turned to him had
grown suddenly tragic. "I've no word to take
back, for none passed between us ; but I wont
do what I mentioned and what you at once
laughed at. Because," she finished, "the case
"Different?" he almost shouted "how,
She didn't look at him for it, but she was
none the less strongly distinct. "He has been
THE OUTCRY 223
here and that has done it. He knows," she
" Knows what I think of him, no doubt
for a brazen young prevaricator ! But what
She still kept her eyes on a far-off point.
4 'What he will have seen that I feel we're
too good friends."
" Then your denial of it's false," her father
fairly thundered "and you are infatuated ?"
It made her the more quiet. " I like him
" So that your row about the picture," he
demanded with passion, "has been all a
blind ? " And then as her quietness still held
her: "And his a blind as much to help him
to get at you ? "
She looked at him again now. "He must
speak for himself I've said what I mean."
" But what the devil do you mean ?" Lord
Theign, taking in the hour, had reached the
door as in supremely baffled conclusion and
with a sense of time lamentably lost.
Their eyes met upon it all dreadfully across
the wide space, and, hurried and incommoded
as she saw him, she yet made him still stand
224 THE OUTCRY
a minute. Then she let everything go. " Do
what you like with the picture ! "
He jerked up his arm and guarding hand
as before a levelled blow at his face, and with
the other hand flung open the door, having
done with her now and immediately lost to
sight. Left alone she stood a moment looking
before her ; then with a vague advance, held
apparently by a quickly growing sense of the
implication of her act, reached a table where
she remained a little, deep afresh in thought
only the next thing to fall into a chair close
to it and there, with her elbows on it, yield to
the impulse of covering her flushed face with
HUGH CRIMBLE waited again in the
Bruton Street drawing-room this
time at the afternoon hour ; he restlessly
shifted his place, looked at things about him
without seeing them ; all he saw, all he out-
wardly studied, was his own face and figure
as he stopped an instant before a long glass
suspended between two windows. Just as he
turned from that brief and perhaps not wholly
gratified inspection Lady Grace that he had
sent up his name to whom was immediately
apparent presented herself at the entrance
from the other room. These young persons
had hereupon no instant exchange of words ;
their exchange was mute they but paused
where they were ; while the silence of each
evidently tested the other for full confidence.
A measure of this comfort came first, it would
have appeared, to Hugh ; though he then at
once asked for confirmation of it.
"Am I right, Lady Grace, am I right? to
228 THE OUTCRY
have come, I mean, after so many days of not
hearing, not knowing, and perhaps, all too
stupidly, not trying." And he went on as,
still with her eyes on him, she didn't speak ;
though, only, we should have guessed, from
her stress of emotion. " Even if I'm wrong,
let me tell you, I don't care simply because,
whatever new difficulty I may have brought
about for you here a fortnight ago, there's
something that to-day adds to my doubt and
my fear too great a pang, and that has made
me feel I can scarce bear the suspense of them
as they are."
The girl came nearer, and if her grave face
expressed a pity it yet declined a dread. "Of
what suspense do you speak ? Your still being
without the other opinion ? "
" Ah, that worries me, yes ; and all the more,
at this hour, as I say, that " He dropped it,
however : "I'll tell you in a moment ! My
real torment, all the while, has been not to
know, from day to day, what situation, what
complication that last scene of ours with your
father here has let you in for ; and yet at the
same time having no sign or sound from you \
to see the importance of not making anything
THE OUTCRY 229
possibly worse by approaching you again, how-
ever discreetly. I've been in the dark," he
pursued, "and feeling that I must leave you
there ; so that now just brutally turning up
once more under personal need and at any
cost I don't know whether I most want or
most fear what I may learn from you."
Lady Grace, listening and watching, appeared
to choose between different ways of meeting
this appeal ; she had a pacifying, postponing
gesture, marked with a beautiful authority, a
sign of the value for her of what she gave
precedence to and which waved off everything
else. " Have you had first of all any news
yet of Bardi ? "
" That I have is what has driven me straight
at you again since I've shown you before how I
turn to you at a crisis. He has come as I
hoped and like a regular good 'un," Hugh was
able to state; "I've just met him at the
station, but I pick him up again, at his hotel in
Clifford Street, at five. He stopped, on his
way from Dover this morning, to my extreme
exasperation, to ' sample ' Canterbury, and I
leave him to a bath and a change and tea.
Then swooping down I whirl him round to
230 THE OUTCRY
Bond Street, where his very first apprehension
of the thing (an apprehension, oh I guarantee
you, so quick and clean and fine and wise) will
be the flash-light projected well," said the
young man, to wind up handsomely, but briefly
and reasonably, "over the whole field of our
She panted with comprehension. " That of
the two portraits being but the one sitter ! "
" That of the two portraits being but the one
sitter. With everything so to the good, more
and more, that bangs in, up to the head, the
golden nail of authenticity, and" he quite
glowed through his gloom for it "we take
our stand in glory on the last Mantovano in
It was a presumption his friend visibly
yearned for but over which, too, with her
eyes away from him, she still distinguished the
shadow of a cloud. "That is if the flash-light
comes ! "
" That is if it comes indeed, confound it ! "
he had to enlarge a little under the recall of
past experience. " So now, at any rate, you
see my tension ! "
She looked at him again as with a vision too
THE OUTCRY 231
full for a waste of words. " While you on
your side of course keep well in view Mr.
" Yes, while I keep well in view Mr. Bender's ;
though he doesn't know, you see, of Bardi's
being at hand."
"Still," said the girl, always all lucid for
the case, "if the 'flash-light' does presently
break ! "
"It will first take him in the eye?" Hugh
had jumped to her idea, but he adopted it only
to provide : "It might if he didn't now wear
goggles, so to say ! clapped on him too hard
by Pappendick's so damnably perverse opinion."
With which, however, he quickly bethought
himself. "Ah, of course, these wretched days,
you haven't known of Pappendick's personal
visit. After that wire from Verona I wired
him back defiance "
" And that brought him ? " she cried.
" To do the honest thing, yes I will say for
him : to renew, for full assurance, his early
memory of our picture."
She hung upon it. " But only to stick then
to what he had telegraphed ? "
" To declare that for him, lackaday ! the
232 THE OUTCRY
thing's a pure Moretto and to declare as
much, moreover, with all the weight of his
authority, to Bender himself, who of course
made a point of seeing him."
" So that Bender" she followed and
wondered "is, as a consequence, wholly off?"
It made her friend's humour play up in his
acuteness. " Bender, Lady Grace, is, by the
law of his being, never ' wholly ' off or on !
anything. He lives, like the moon, in mid-air,
shedding his silver light on earth ; never quite
gone, yet never all there save for inappreci-
able moments. He would be in eclipse as a
peril, I grant," Hugh went on "if the question
had struck him as really closed. But luckily
the blessed Press which is a pure heavenly
joy and now quite immense on it keeps it
open as wide as Piccadilly."
"Which makes, however," Lady Grace
discriminated, "for the danger of a grab."
"Ah, but all the more for the shame of a
surrender ! Of course I admit that when it's a
question of a life spent, like his, in waiting,
acquisitively, for the cat to jump, the only
thing for one, at a given moment, as against
that signal, is to be found one's self by the
THE OUTCRY 233
animal in the line of its trajectory. That's
exactly," he laughed, ''where we are ! "
She cast about as intelligently to note the
place. " Your great idea, you mean, has so
worked with the uproar truly as loud as it has
seemed to come to us here ? "
"All beyond my wildest hope," Hugh re-
turned ; " since the sight of the picture, flocked
to every day by thousands, so beautifully tells.
That we must at any cost keep it, that the
nation must, and hang on to it tight, is the cry
that fills the air to the tune of ten letters a
day in the Papers, with every three days a
gorgeous leader ; to say nothing of more and
more passionate talk all over the place, some
of it awfully wild, but all of it wind in our
" I suppose it was that wind then that blew
me round there to see the thing in its new
light," Lady Grace said. " But I couldn't stay
for tears ! "
" Ah," Hugh insisted on his side for com-
fort, "we'll crow loudest yet! And don't
meanwhile, just dont, those splendid strange
eyes of the fellow seem consciously to plead ?
The women, bless them, adore him, cling
234 THE OUTCRY
to him, and there's talk of a ' Ladies*
League of Protest ' all of which keeps up the
" Poor Amy and I are a ladies' league," the
girl joylessly joked "as we now take in the
' Journal ' regardless of expense."
"Oh then you practically have it all since,"
Hugh added after a brief hesitation, " I sup-
pose Lord Theign himself doesn't languish
"At far-off Salsomaggiore by the papers?
No doubt indeed he isn't spared even the
worst," said Lady Grace "and no doubt too
it's a drag on his cure."
Her companion seemed struck with her lack
of assurance. "Then you don't if I may ask
hear from him ? "
" I ? Never a word."
" He doesn't write ? " Hugh allowed him-
self to insist.
" He doesn't write. And I don't write
" And Lady Sandgate ? " Hugh once more
"Doesn't she write?"
"Doesn't she hear?" said the young man,
THE OUTCRY 235
treating the other form of the question as a
" I've asked her not to tell me," his friend
replied-" that is if he simply holds out."
11 So that as she doesn't tell you " Hugh
was clear for the inference "he of course does
hold out." To which he added almost accus-
ingly while his eyes searched her : " But your
case is really bad."
She confessed to it after a moment, but as if
vaguely enjoying it. " My case is really bad."
He had a vividness of impatience and con-
trition. "And it's I who all too blunder-
ingly ! have made it so ? "
" I've made it so myself," she said with a
high headshake, "and you, on the contrary ! "
But here she checked her emphasis.
"Ah, I've so wanted, through our horrid
silence, to help you ! " And he pressed to get
more at the truth. "You've so quite fatally
displeased him ? "
"To the last point as I tell you. But it's
not to that I refer," she explained; "it's to
the ground of complaint I've given you." And
then as this but left him blank, "It's time it
was at once time that you should know," she
236 THE OUTCRY
pursued ; "and yet if it's hard for me to speak,
as you see, it was impossible for me to write.
But there it is." She made her sad and
beautiful effort. "The last thing before he
left us I let the picture go."
"You mean ?" But he could only wonder
till, however, it glimmered upon him. " You
gave up your protest ? "
" I gave up my protest. I told him that
so far as I'm concerned! he might do as he
Her poor friend turned pale at the sharp
little shock of it ; but if his face thus showed
the pang of too great a surprise he yet
wreathed the convulsion in a gay grimace.
"You leave me to struggle alone ? "
" I leave you to struggle alone."
He took it in bewilderingly, but tried again,
even to the heroic, for optimism. "Ah well,
you decided, I suppose, on some new personal
"Yes; a reason came up, a reason I hadn't
to that extent looked for and which of a
sudden quickly, before he went I had some-
how to deal with. So to give him my word
in the dismal sense I mention was my only
THE OUTCRY 237
way to meet the strain." She paused ; Hugh
waited for something further, and " I gave
him my word I wouldn't help you," she wound
He turned it over. " To act in the matter
"To act in the matter" she went through
with it "after the high stand I had taken."
Still he studied it. " I see I see. It's
between you and your father."
"It's between him and me yes. An en-
gagement not again to trouble him."
Hugh, from his face, might have feared a
still greater complication ; so he made, as he
would probably have said, a jolly lot of this.
" Ah, that was nice of you. And natural.
That's all right!"
"No " she spoke from a deeper depth
" it's altogether wrong. For whatever happens
I must now accept it."
"Well, say you must" he really declined
not to treat it almost as rather a "lark" "if
we can at least go on talking."
"Ah, we can at least go on talking!" she
perversely sighed. " I can say anything I like
so long as I don't say it to him ! " she almost
238 THE OUTCRY
wailed. But she added with more firmness :
" I can still hope and I can still pray."
He set free again with a joyous gesture all
his confidence. "Well, w r hat more could you
do, anyhow ? So isn't that enough ? "
It took her a moment to say, and even then
she didn't. " Is it enough for you, Mr.
"What is enough for me" he could for his
part readily name it " is the harm done you
at our last meeting by my irruption ; so that
if you got his consent to see me "
" I didn't get his consent! " she had turned
away from the searching eyes, but she faced
them again to rectify : " I see you against his
"Ah then thank God I came! " it was like
a bland breath on a feu de joie : he flamed so
"Thank God you've come, yes for my
deplorable exposure." And to justify her
name for it before he could protest, " I offered
him here not to see you," she rigorously ex-
"'Offered him'?" Hugh did drop for it.
"Not to see me ever again ? "
THE OUTCRY 239
She didn't falter. " Never again."
Ah then he understood. " But he wouldn't
let that serve ? "
11 Not for the price I put on it."
" His yielding on the picture ? "
" His yielding on the picture."
Hugh lingered before it all. "Your pro-
posal wasn't ' good enough ' ? "
" It wasn't good enough."
" I see," he repeated " I see." But he was
in that light again mystified. " Then why are
you therefore not free ? "
" Because just after you came back, and
I did see you again ! "
Ah, it was all present. " You found you
were too sorry for me ? "
" I found I was too sorry for you as he
himself found I was."
Hugh had got hold of it now. " And that,
you mean, he couldn't stomach ? "
" So little that when you had gone (and how
you had to go you remember) he at once pro-
posed, rather than that I should deceive you
in a way so different from his own "
" To do all we want of him ? "
41 To do all I did at least."
2 4 o THE OUTCRY
" And it was then" he took in, "that you
wouldn't deal ? "
" Well " try though she might to keep the
colour out, it all came straighter and straighter
now "those moments had brought you home
to me as they had also brought him; making
such a difference, I felt, for what he veered
round to agree to."
" The difference " Hugh wanted it so
adorably definite "that you didn't see your
way to accepting ? "
" No, not to accepting the condition he
" Which was that he'd keep the picture for
you if you'd treat me as too ' low ' ? "
" If I'd treat you," said Lady Grace with her
eyes on his fine young face, "as impossible."
He kept her eyes he clearly liked so to
make her repeat it. "And not even for the
sake of the picture ? " After he had given
her time, however, her silence, with her beauti-
ful look in it, seemed to admonish him not to
force her for his pleasure ; as if what she had
already told him didn't make him throb enough
for the wonder of it. He had it, and let her
see by his high flush how he made it his
THE OUTCRY 241
own while, the next thing, as it was but part
of her avowal, the rest of that illumination
called for a different intelligence. "Your
father's reprobation of me personally is on the
ground that you're all such great people ? "
She spared him the invidious answer to this
as, a moment before, his eagerness had spared
her reserve ; she flung over the " ground " that
his question laid bare the light veil of an
evasion. " 'Great people, 1 I've learned to see,
mustn't to remain great do what my father's
"It's indeed on the theory of their not so
behaving," Hugh returned, " that we see them
all the inferior rest of us in the grand
glamour of their greatness ! "
If he had spoken to meet her admirable
frankness half-way, that beauty in her almost
brushed him aside to make at a single step
the rest of the journey. " You won't see them
in it for long if they don't now, under such
tests and with such opportunities, begin to take
This had given him, at a stroke, he clearly
felt, all freedom for the closer criticism.
" Lord Theign perhaps recognises some such
242 THE OUTCRY
canny truth, but 'takes care/ with the least
trouble to himself and the finest short cut
does it, if you'll let me say so, rather on the
cheap by finding * the likes ' of me, as his
daughter's trusted friend, out of the question."
' ' Well, you won't mind that, will you?"
Lady Grace asked, "if he finds his daughter
herself, in any such relation to you, quite as
" Different enough, from position to position
and person to person," he brightly brooded,
" is the view that gets itself most comfortably
taken of the implications of Honour ! "
" Yes," the girl returned ; " my father, in the
act of despoiling us all, all who are interested,
without apparently the least unpleasant con-
sciousness, keeps the balance showily even,
to his mostly so fine, so delicate sense, by
suddenly discovering that he's scandalised at
my caring for your friendship."
Hugh looked at her, on this, as with the
gladness verily of possession promised and
only waiting or as if from that moment forth
he had her assurance of everything that most
concerned him and that might most inspire.
"Well, isn't the moral of it all simply that
THE OUTCRY 243
what his perversity of pride, as we can only
hold it, will have most done for us is to bring
us and to keep us blessedly together ? "
She seemed for a moment to question his
" simply." " Do you regard us as so much
' together ' when you remember where, in spite
of everything, I've put myself?"
"By telling him to do what he likes?" he
recalled without embarrassment. " Oh, that
wasn't in spite of ' everything ' it was only
in spite of the Mantovano."
"'Only'?" she flushed " when I've given
the picture up ? "
" Ah," Hugh cried, " I don't care a hang for
the picture ! " And then as she let him, closer,
close to her with this, possess himself of her
hands : " We both only care, don't we, that
we're given to each other thus ? We both only
care, don't we, that nothing can keep us apart ? "
1 'Oh, if you've forgiven me !" she sighed
into his fond face.
" Why, since you gave the thing up for me,"
he pleadingly laughed, "it isn't as if you had
given me up ! "
" For anything, anything ? Ah never,
never ! " she breathed.
244 THE OUTCRY
" Then why aren't we all right ? "
-Well, if you will !"
"Oh for ever and ever and ever!" and
with this ardent cry of his devotion his arms
closed in their strength and she was clasped
to his breast and to his lips.
The next moment, however, she had checked
him with the warning "Amy Sandgate ! " as
if she had heard their hostess enter the other
room. Lady Sandgate was in fact almost
already upon them their disjunction had
scarce been effected and she had reached the
nearer threshold. They had at once put the
widest space possible between them a little
of the flurry of which transaction agitated
doubtless their clutch at composure. They
gave back a shade awkwardly and consciously,
on one side and the other, the speculative
though gracious attention she for a few
moments made them and their recent intimate
relation the subject of; from all of which
indeed Lady Grace sought and found cover
in a prompt and responsible address to Hugh.
" Mustn't you go without more delay to
He came back to it all alert. "At once!"
THE OUTCRY 245
He had recovered his hat and reached the
other door, whence he gesticulated farewell to
the elder lady. " Please pardon me " and he
Lady Sandgate hereupon stood for a little
silently confronted with the girl. " Have you
freedom of mind for the fact that your father's
suddenly at hand ? "
"He has come back?" Lady Grace was
"He arrives this afternoon and appears to
go straight to Kitty according to a wire that
I find downstairs on coming back late from my
luncheon. He has returned with a rush as,"
said his correspondent in the elation of triumph,
" I was sure he would ! "
Her young friend was more at sea. " Brought
back, you mean, by the outcry even though
he so hates it ? "
But she was more and more all lucidity
save in so far as she was now almost all
authority. "Ah, hating still more to seem
afraid, he has come back to face the music ! "
Lady Grace, turning away as in vague
despair for the manner in which the music
might affect him, yet wheeled about again, after
246 THE OUTCRY
thought, to a positive recognition and even to
quite an inconsequent pride. "Yes that's
dear old father ! "
And what was Lady Sandgate moreover but
mistress now of the subject ? " At the point
the row has reached he couldn't stand it another
day ; so he has thrown up his cure and lest
we should oppose him ! not even announced
"Well," her companion returned, "now that
I've done it all I shall never oppose him again ! "
Lady Sandgate appeared to show herself as
still under the impression she might have re-
ceived on entering. " He'll only oppose you ! "
"If he does," said Lady Grace, "we're at
present two to bear it."
" Heaven save us then " the elder woman
was quick, was even cordial, for the sense of
this " your good friend is clever ! "
Lady Grace honoured the remark. " Mr.
Crimble's remarkably clever."
" And you've arranged ? "
"We haven't arranged but we've under-
stood. So that, dear Amy, if you under-
stand !" Lady Grace paused, for Gotch
had come in from the hall.
THE OUTCRY 247
"His lordship has arrived?" his mistress
immediately put to him.
" No, my lady, but Lord John has to know
if he's expected here, and in that case, by
your ladyship's leave, to come up."
Her ladyship turned to the girl. " May
Lord John as we do await your father come
up ? "
" As suits you, please ! "
" He may come up," said Lady Sandgate to
Gotch. "His lordship's expected." She had
a pause till they were alone again, when she
went on to her companion : " You asked me
just now if I understood. Well I do under-
stand ! "
Lady Grace, with Gotch's withdrawal, which
left the door open, had reached the passage to
the other room. " Then you'll excuse me ! "
she made her escape.
LORD JOHN, reannounced the next instant from
the nearest quarter and quite waiving saluta-
tions, left no doubt of the high pitch of his
248 THE OUTCRY
eagerness and tension as soon as the door had
closed behind him. " What on earth then do
you suppose he has come back to do ? " To
which he added while his hostess's gesture
impatiently disclaimed conjecture: " Because
when a fellow really finds himself the centre of
a cyclone ! "
"Isn't it just at the centre," she interrupted,
"that you keep remarkably still, and only in
the suburbs that you feel the rage ? I count
on dear Theign's doing nothing in the least
foolish ! "
" Ah, but he can't have chucked everything
for nothing," Lord John sharply returned ;
"and wherever you place him in the rumpus
he can't but meet somehow, hang it, such an
assault on his character as a great nobleman
and good citizen."
"It's his luck to have become with the public
of the newspapers the scapegoat-in-chief : for
the sins, so-called, of a lot of people! " Lady
Sandgate inconclusively sighed.
"Yes," Lord John concluded for her, "the
mercenary millions on whose traffic in their
trumpery values when they're so lucky as to
have any ! this isn't a patch ! "
THE OUTCRY 249
"Oh, there are cases and cases: situations
and responsibilities so intensely differ ! " that
appeared on the whole, for her ladyship, the
moral to be gathered.
" Of course everything differs, all round,
from everything," Lord John went on; "and
who in the world knows anything of his own
case but the victim of circumstances exposing
himself, for the highest and purest motives, to
be literally torn to pieces ? "
"Well," said Lady Sandgate as, in her
strained suspense, she freshly consulted her
bracelet watch, " I hope he isn't already torn
if you tell me you've been to Kitty's."
" Oh, he was all right so far : he had arrived
and gone out again," the young man explained,
"as Lady Imber hadn't been at home."
"Ah cool Kitty!" his hostess sighed again
but diverted, as she spoke, by the reappear-
ance of her butler, this time positively preced-
ing Lord Theign, whom she met, when he
presently stood before her, his garb of travel
exchanged for consummate afternoon dress, with
yearning tenderness and compassionate curi-
osity. " At last, dearest friend what a joy !
But with Kitty not at home to receive you ? "
2 5 o THE OUTCRY
That young woman's parent made light of it
for the indulged creature's sake. ' ' Oh I knew my
Kitty! I dressed and I find her at five-thirty."
To which he added as he only took in further,
without expression, Lord John : " But Bender,
who came there before my arrival he hasn't
tried for me here ? "
It was a point on which Lord John himself
could at least be expressive. " I met him at the
club at luncheon ; he had had your letter but
for which chance, my dear man, I should have
known nothing. You'll see him all right at
this house ; but I'm glad, if I may say so,
Theign," the speaker pursued with some
emphasis " I'm glad, you know, to get hold
of you first."
Lord Theign seemed about to ask for the
meaning of this remark, but his other com-
panion's apprehension had already overflowed.
" You haven't come back, have you to what-
ever it may be ! for trouble of any sort with
Breckenridge ? "
His lordship transferred his penetration to
this fair friend. " Have you become so in-
tensely absorbed these remarkable days ! in
' Breckenridge ' ? "
THE OUTCRY 251
She felt the shadow, you would have seen,
of his claimed right, or at least privilege, of
search yet easily, after an instant, emerged
clear. " I've thought and dreamt but of you
suspicious man ! in proportion as the clamour
has spread ; and Mr. Bender meanwhile, if you
want to know, hasn't been near me once ! "
Lord John came in a manner, and however
unconsciously, to her aid. " You'd have seen,
if he had been, what's the matter with him, I
think and what perhaps Theign has seen
from his own letter : since," he went on to
his fellow- visitor, " I understood him a week
ago to have been much taken up with writing
Lord Theign received this without comment,
only again with an air of expertly sounding the
speaker ; after which he gave himself afresh for
a moment to Lady Sandgate. " I've not come
home for any clamour, as you surely know me
well enough to believe ; or to notice for a
minute the cheapest insolence and aggression
which frankly scarce reached me out there ;
or which, so far as it did, I was daily washed
clean of by those blest waters. I returned on
Mr. Bender's letter," he then vouchsafed to
252 THE OUTCRY
Lord John " three extraordinarily vulgar
pages about the egregious Pappendick ! "
"About his having suddenly turned up in
person, yes, and, as Breckenridge says, marked
the picture down ? " the young man was
clearly all-knowing. " That has of course
weighed on Bender being confirmed ap-
parently, on the whole, by the drift of public
Lord Theign took, on this, with a frank
show of reaction from some of his friend's
terms, a sharp turn off; he even ironically
indicated the babbler or at least the blunderer
in question to Lady Sandgate. "He too has
known me so long, and he comes here to talk
to me of ' the drift of public opinion ' ! " After
which he quite charged at his vain informant.
" Am I to tell you again that I snap my fingers
at the drift of public opinion ? which is but
another name for the chatter of all the fools
one doesn't know, in addition to all those (and
plenty of 'em !) one damnably does."
Lady Sandgate, by a turn of the hand,
dropped oil from her golden cruse. " Ah, you
did that, in your own grand way, before you
went abroad ! "
THE OUTCRY 253
" I don't speak of the matter, my dear man,
in the light of its effect on you'' Lord John
importantly explained "but in the light of its
effect on Bender; who so consumedly wants
the picture, if he is to have it, to be a
Mantovano, but seems unable to get it taken
at last for anything but the fine old Moretto
that of course it has always been."
Lord Theign, in growing disgust at the
whole beastly complication, betrayed more and
more the odd pitch of the temper that had
abruptly restored him with such incalculable
weight to the scene of action. "Well, isn't
a fine old Moretto good enough for him,
confound him ? "
It pulled up not a little Lord John, who
yet made his point. " A fine old Moretto,
you know, was exactly what he declined at
Dedborough for its comparative, strictly com-
parative, insignificance ; and he only thought
of the picture when the wind began to rise for
the enormous rarity "
"That that mendacious young cad who has
bamboozled Grace," Lord Theign broke in,
"tried to befool us, for his beggarly reasons,
into claiming for it ? "
254 THE OUTCRY
Lady Sandgate renewed her mild influence.
"Ah, the knowing people haven't had their
last word the possible Mantovano isn't
exploded yet I "
Her noble friend, however, declined the
offered spell. "I've had enough of the know-
ing people the knowing people are serpents !
My picture's to take or to leave and it's what
I've come back, if you please, John, to say to
your man to his face."
This declaration had a report as sharp and
almost as multiplied as the successive cracks
of a discharged revolver ; yet when the light
smoke cleared Lady Sandgate at least was
still left standing and smiling. "Yes, why in
mercy's name can't he choose which ? and
why does he write him, dreadful Breckenridge,
such tiresome argumentative letters ? "
Lord John took up her idea as with the air
of something that had been working in him
rather vehemently, though under due caution
too, as a consequence of this exchange, during
which he had apprehensively watched his elder.
" I don't think I quite see how, my dear Theign,
the poor chap's letter was so offensive."
In that case his dear Theign could tell him.
THE OUTCRY 255
4< Because it was a tissue of expressions that
may pass current over counters and in awful
newspapers in his extraordinary world or
country, but that I decline to take time to
puzzle out here."
"If he didn't make himself understood,'*
Lord John took leave to laugh, "it must
indeed have been an [unusual production for
" Oh, I often, with the wild beauty, if you
will, of so many of his turns, haven't a notionj"
Lady Sandgate confessed with an equal gaiety,
" of what he's talking about."
" I think I never miss his weird sense," her
younger guest again loyally contended "and
in fact as a general thing I rather like it ! "
" I happen to like nothing that I don't
enjoy," Lord Theign rejoined with some
asperity " and so far as I do follow the fellow
he assumes on my part an interest in his ex-
penditure of purchase-money that I neither feel
nor pretend to. He doesn't want by what I
spell out the picture he refused at Ded-
borough ; he may possibly want if one reads
it so the picture on view in Bond Street ; and
he yet appears to make, with great emphasis,
256 THE OUTCRY
the stupid ambiguous point that these two
4 articles ' (the greatest of Morettos an ' article ' !)
haven't been * by now ' proved different : as if
I engaged with him that I myself would so
prove them ! "
Lord John indulged in a pause but also in
a suggestion. " He must allude to your
hoping when you allowed us to place the
picture with Mackintosh that it would show
to all London in the most precious light
"Well, if it hasn't so shown" and Lord
Theign stared as if mystified "what in the
world's the meaning of this preposterous
racket ? "
" The racket is largely," his young friend
explained, "the vociferation of the people who
contradict each other about it."
On which their hostess sought to enliven the
gravity of the question. " Some yes shout-
ing on the house-tops that's a Mantovano of
the Mantovanos, and others shrieking back at
them that they're donkeys if not criminals."
"He may take it for whatever he likes,"
said Lord Theign, heedless of these contri-
butions, "he may father it on Michael Angelo
THE OUTCRY 257
himself if he'll but clear out with it and let me
alone ! "
" What he'd like to take it for," Lord John
at this point saw his way to remark, " is some-
thing in the nature of a Hundred Thousand."
"A Hundred Thousand?" cried his
" Quite, I daresay, a Hundred Thousand"
the young man enjoyed clearly handling even
by the lips so round a sum.
Lady Sandgate disclaimed however with
agility any appearance of having gaped.
"Why, haven't you yet realised, Theign, that
those are the American figures ? "
His lordship looked at her fixedly and then
did the same by Lord John, after which he
waited a little. " I've nothing to do with the
American figures which seem to me, if you
press me, you know, quite intolerably vulgar."
" Well, I'd be as vulgar as anybody for a
Hundred Thousand ! " Lady Sandgate hastened
" Didn't he let us know at Dedborough,"
Lord John asked of the master of that seat,
" that he had no use, as he said, for lower
values ? "
2 5 8 THE OUTCRY
" I've heard him remark myself," said their
companion, rising to the monstrous memory,
"that he wouldn't take a cheap picture even
though a ' handsome ' one as a present."
"And does he call the thing round the
corner a cheap picture ? " the proprietor of the
Lord John threw up his arms with a grin of
impatience. " All he wants to do, don't you
see ? is to prevent your making it one ! "
Lord Theign glared at this imputation to
him of a low ductility. " I offered the thing,
as it was, at an estimate worthy of it and of
" My dear reckless friend," his young adviser
protested, "you named no figure at all when it
came to the point ! "
"It didrit come to the point! Nothing
came to the point but that I put a Moretto on
view ; as a thing, yes, perfectly " Lord
Theign accepted the reminding gesture "on
which a rich American had an eye and in
which he had, so to speak, an interest. That
was what I wanted, and so we left it parting
each of us ready but neither of us bound."
"Ah, Mr. Bender's bound, as he'd say,"
THE OUTCRY 259
Lady Sandgate interposed " ( bound ' to make
you swallow the enormous luscious plum that
your appetite so morbidly rejects ! "
" My appetite, as morbid as you like " her
old friend had shrewdly turned on her "is
my own affair, and if the fellow must deal in
enormities I warn him to carry them else-
where ! "
Lord John, plainly, by this time, was quite
exasperated at the absurdity of him. " But
how can't you see that it's only a plum, as she
says, for a plum and an eye for an eye since
the picture itself, with this huge ventilation, is
now quite a different affair ? "
"How the deuce a different affair when just
what the man himself confesses is that, in spite
of all the chatter of the prigs and pedants,
there's no really established ground for treating
it as anything but the same ? " On which, as
having so unanswerably spoken, Lord Theign
shook himself free again, in his high petulance,
and moved restlessly to where the passage to
the other room appeared to offer his nerves an
issue ; all moreover to the effect of suggesting
to us that something still other than what he
had said might meanwhile work in him behind
26o THE OUTCRY
and beneath that quantity. The spectators of
his trouble watched him, for the time, in un-
certainty and with a mute but associated com-
ment on the perversity and oddity he had so
suddenly developed ; Lord John giving a shrug
of almost bored despair and Lady Sandgate
signalling caution and tact for their action by a
finger flourished to her lips, and in fact at once
proceeding to apply these arts. The subject of
her attention had still remained as in worried
thought ; he had even mechanically taken up a
book from a table which he then, after an
absent glance at it, tossed down.
"You're so detached from reality, you ador-
able dreamer," she began " and unless you
stick to that you might as well have done
nothing. What you call the pedantry and
priggishness and all the rest of it is exactly
what poor Breckenridge asked almost on his
knees, wonderful man, to be allowed to pay
you for ; since even if the meddlers and
chatterers haven't settled anything for those
who know though which of the elect them-
selves after all does seem to know? it's a
great service rendered him to have started such
a hare to run ! "
THE OUTCRY 261
Lord John took freedom to throw off very
much the same idea. " Certainly his connec-
tion with the whole question and agitation
makes no end for his glory."
It didn't, that remark, bring their friend
back to him, but it at least made his indiffer-
ence flash with derision. " His 'glory' Mr.
Bender's glory ? Why, they quite universally
loathe him judging by the stuff they print ! "
" Oh, here as a corrupter of our morals and
a promoter of our decay, even though so many
are flat on their faces to him yes ! But it's
another affair over there where the eagle
screams like a thousand steam-whistles and the
newspapers flap like the leaves of the forest :
there he'll be, if you'll only let him, the biggest
thing going ; since sound, in that air, seems to
mean size, and size to be all that counts. If he
said of the thing, as you recognise," Lord John
went on, " ' It's going to be a Mantovano, ' why
you can bet your life that it is that it has got
to be some kind of a one."
His fellow-guest, at this, drew nearer again,
irritated, you would have been sure, by the
unconscious infelicity of the pair worked
up to something quite openly wilful and
262 THE OUTCRY
passionate. " No kind of a furious flaunting
one, under my patronage, that I can prevent,
my boy ! The Dedborough picture in the
market owing to horrid little circumstances that
regard myself alone is the Dedborough picture,
at a decent, sufficient, civilised Dedborough
price, and nothing else whatever ; which I beg
you will take as my last word on the subject."
Lord John, trying whether he could take it,
momentarily mingled his hushed state with
that of their hostess, to whom he addressed
a helpless look ; after which, however, he
appeared to find that he could only reassert
himself. " May I nevertheless reply that I
think you'll not be able to prevent anything ?
since the discussed object will completely
escape your control in New York ! "
" And almost any discussed object " Lady
Sandgate rose to the occasion also "is in
New York, by what one hears, easily worth a
Hundred Thousand ! "
Lord Theign looked from one of them to the
other. " I sell the man a Hundred Thousand
worth of swagger and advertisement, and ol
fraudulent swagger and objectionable advertise-
ment at that ? "
THE OUTCRY 263
"Well" Lord John was but briefly baffled
"when the picture's his you can't help its
doing what it can and what it will for him
anywhere ! "
"Then it isn't his yet," the elder man
retorted "and I promise you never will be if
he has sent you to me with his big drum ! "
Lady Sandgate turned sadly on this to her
associate in patience, as if the case were now
really beyond them. "Yes, how indeed can it
ever become his if Theign simply won't let him
pay for it ? "
Her question was unanswerable. "It's the
first time in all my life I've known a man
feel insulted, in such a piece of business, by
happening not to be, in the usual way, more or
less swindled ! "
"Theign is unable to take it in," her lady-
ship explained, "that as I've heard it said of
all these money-monsters of the new type
Bender simply can't afford not to be cited and
celebrated as the biggest buyer who ever lived."
" Ah, cited and celebrated at my expense
say it at once and have it over, that I may
enjoy what you all want to do to me ! "
"The dear man's inimitable at his 'ex-
264 THE OUTCRY
pense'!" It was more than Lord John could
bear as he fairly flung himself off in his
derisive impotence and addressed his wail to
" Yes, at my expense is exactly what I
mean," Lord Theign asseverated "at the
expense of my modest claim to regulate my
behaviour by my own standards. There you
perfectly are about the man, and it's precisely
what I say that he's to hustle and harry me
because he's a money-monster : which I never
for a moment dreamed of, please understand,
when I let you, John, thrust him at me as a
pecuniary resource at Dedborough. I didn't
put my property on view that he might blow
about it ! "
" No, if you like," Lady Sandgate returned ;
"but you certainly didn't so arrange" she
seemed to think her point somehow would help
" that you might blow about it yourself! "
" Nobody wants to * blow,' " Lord John more
stoutly interposed, "either hot or cold, I take
it ; but I really don't see the harm of Bender's
liking to be known for the scale of his trans-
actions actual or merely imputed even, if you
will ; since that scale is really so magnificent."
THE OUTCRY 265
Lady Sandgate half accepted, half qualified
this plea. " The only question perhaps is why
he doesn't try for some precious work that
somebody less delicious than dear Theign
can be persuaded on bended knees to accept
a hundred thousand for."
" ' Try ' for one ? " her younger visitor took
it up while her elder more attentively watched
him. " That was exactly what he did try for
when he pressed you so hard in vain for the
great Sir Joshua."
" Oh well, he mustn't come back to that
must he, Theign ? " her ladyship cooed.
That personage failed to reply, so that Lord
John went on, unconscious apparently of the
still more suspicious study to which he exposed
himself. " Besides which there are no things
of that magnitude knocking about, don't you
know ? they've got to be worked up first if
they're to reach the grand publicity of the
Figure! Would you mind," he continued to
his noble monitor, "an agreement on some
such basis as this ? that you shall resign
yourself to the biggest equivalent you'll
squeamishly consent to take, if it's at the same
time the smallest he'll squeamishly consent to
266 THE OUTCRY
offer ; but that, that done, you shall leave him
Lady Sandgate took it up straight, rounding
it off, as their companion only waited. " Leave
him free to talk about the sum offered and the
sum taken as practically one and the same ? "
"Ah, you know," Lord John discriminated,
"he doesn't 'talk' so much himself there's
really nothing blatant or crude about poor
Bender. It's the rate at which by the very
way he's ' fixed ' : an awful way indeed, I
grant you ! a perfect army of reporter-
wretches, close at his heels, are always talking
for him and of him."
Lord Theign spoke hereupon at last with the
air as of an impulse that had been slowly
gathering force. " You talk for him, my dear
chap, pretty well. You urge his case, my
honour, quite as if you were assured of a
commission on the job on a fine ascending
scale ! Has he put you up to that proposition,
eh ? Do you get a handsome percentage and
are you to make a good thing of it ? "
The young man coloured under this stinging
pleasantry whether from a good conscience
affronted or from a bad one made worse ; but
THE OUTCRY 267
he otherwise showed a bold front, only bending
his eyes a moment on his watch. " As he's
to come to you himself and I don't know why
the mischief he doesn't come ! he will answer
you that graceful question."
''Will he answer it," Lord Theign asked,
" with the veracity that the suggestion you've
just made on his behalf represents him as so
beautifully adhering to ? " On which he again
quite fiercely turned his back and recovered his
detachment, the others giving way behind him
to a blanker dismay.
Lord John, in spite of this however, pumped
up a tone. " I don't see why you should speak
as if I were urging some abomination."
" Then I'll tell you why ! "and Lord Theign
was upon him again for the purpose. " Be-
cause I had rather give the cursed thing away
outright and for good and all than that it should
hang out there another day in the interest of
such equivocations ! "
Lady Sandgate's dismay yielded to her
wonder, and her wonder apparently in turn to
her amusement. " ' Give it away,' my dear
friend, to a man who only longs to smother
you in gold ? "
268 THE OUTCRY
Her dear friend, however, had lost patience
with her levity. " Give it away just for a
luxury of protest and a stoppage of chatter
to some cause as unlike as possible that of Mr.
Bender's power of sound and his splendid
reputation : to the Public, to the Authorities,
to the Thingumbob, to the Nation ! "
Lady Sandgate broke into horror while Lord
John stood sombre and stupefied. "Ah, my
dear creature, you've flights of extra-
vagance ! "
"One thing's very certain," Lord Theign
quite heedlessly pursued " that the thought of
my property on view there does give intoler-
ably on my nerves, more and more every
minute that I'm conscious of it; so that, hang
it, if one thinks of it, why shouldn't I, for my
relief, do again, damme, what I Like ? that is
bang the door in their faces, have the show
immediately stopped?" He turned with the
attraction of this idea from one of his listeners
to the other. " It's my show it isn't Bender's
surely and I can do just as I choose with it."
"Ah, but isn't that the very point?" and
Lady Sandgate put it to Lord John. " Isn't
it Bender's show much more than his ? "
THE OUTCRY 269
Her invoked authority, however, in answer
to this, made but a motion of disappointment
and disgust at so much rank folly while Lord
Theign, on the other hand, followed up his
happy thought. "Then if it's Bender's show,
or if he claims it is, there's all the more
reason ! " And it took his lordship's inspira-
tion no longer to flower. " See here, John
do this : go right round there this moment,
please, and tell them from me to shut straight
down ! "
" ' Shut straight down ' ? " the young man
"Stop it to-night wind it up and end it:
see ? " The more the entertainer of that
vision held it there the more charm it clearly
took on for him. " Have the picture removed
from view and the incident closed."
" You seriously ask that of me ! " poor Lord
" Why in the world shouldn't I ? It's a jolly
lot less than you asked of me a month ago at
"What then am I to say to them ?" Lord
John spoke but after a very long moment,
during which he had only looked hard and
270 THE OUTCRY
an observer might even then have felt omin-
ously at his taskmaster.
That personage replied as if wholly to have
done with the matter. "Say anything that
comes into your clever head. I don't really
see that there's anything else/0r you ! " Lady
Sandgate sighed to the messenger, who gave
no sign save of positive stiffness.
The latter seemed still to weigh his dis-
pleasing obligation ; then he eyed his friend
significantly almost portentously. " Those
are absolutely your sentiments ? "
" Those are absolutely my sentiments " and
Lord Theign brought this out as with the
force of a physical push.
"Very well then!" But the young man,
indulging in a final, a fairly sinister, study of
such a dealer in the arbitrary, made sure of
the extent, whatever it was, of his own wrong.
" Not one more day ? "
Lord Theign only waved him away. "Not
one more hour ! "
He paused at the door, this reluctant spokes-
man, as if for some supreme protest ; but after
another prolonged and decisive engagement
with the two pairs of eyes that waited, though
THE OUTCRY 271
differently, on his performance, he clapped on
his hat as in the rage of his resentment and
departed on his mission.
"HE can't bear to do it, poor man!" Lady
Sandgate ruefully remarked to her remaining
guest after Lord John had, under extreme
pressure, dashed out to Bond Street.
"I dare say not!" Lord Theign, flushed
with the felicity of self-expression, made little
of that. " But he goes too far, you see, and
it clears the air pouah ! Now therefore "
and he glanced at the clock " I must go to
" Kitty with what Kitty wants," Lady Sand-
gate opined " won't thank you for that / "
"She never thanks me for anything" and
the fact of his resignation clearly added here to
his bitterness. " So it's no great loss ! "
"Won't you at any rate," his hostess asked,
"wait for Bender?"
His lordship cast it to the winds. "What
have I to do with him now ? "
272 THE OUTCRY
<4 Why surely if he'll accept your own
price ! "
Lord Theign thought he wondered ; and
then as if fairly amused at himself: " Hanged
if I know what is my own price ! " After which
he went for his hat. " But there's one thing,"
he remembered as he came back with it :
" where 's my too, too unnatural daughter?"
"If you mean Grace and really want her
I'll send and find out."
"Not now" he bethought himself. "But
does she see that chatterbox ? "
" Mr. Crimble ? Yes, she sees him."
He kept his eyes on her. " Then how far
has it gone ? "
Lady Sandgate overcame an embarrassment.
"Well, not even yet, I think, so far as they'd
"They'd 'like' heaven save the mark!
to marry ? "
" I suspect them of it. What line, if it
should come to that," she asked, "would you
He was perfectly prompt. "The line that
for Grace it's simply ignoble."
The force of her deprecation of such language
THE OUTCRY 273
was qualified by tact. " Ah, darling, as dreadful
as that ? "
He could but view the possibility with dark
resentment. "It lets us so down from
what we've always been and done ; so down,
down, down that I'm amazed you don't feel
it ! "
"Oh, I feel there's still plenty to keep you
up ! " she soothingly laughed.
He seemed to consider this vague amount
which he apparently judged, however, not so
vast as to provide for the whole yearning of
his nature. "Well, my dear," he thus more
blandly professed, " I shall need all the extra
agrtment that your affection can still supply."
If nothing could have been, on this, richer
than her response, nothing could at the same
time have been more pleasing than her
modesty. " Ah, my affection, Theign, is, as
I think you know, a fountain always at flood ;
but in any more worldly element than that I'm
as you've ever seen for yourself a poor
struggler with my own sad affairs, a broken
reed ; not a bit 'great,' as they used so finely
to call it! You are great with the natural
sense of greatness and, for your supreme
274 THE OUTCRY
support, the instinctive grand manner of doing
and taking things."
He sighed, none the less, he groaned, with
his frown of trouble, for the strain he foresaw
on these resources. "If you mean that I hold
up my head, on proper grounds, I grant that I
always have. But how's that longer possible
when my children commit such base
vulgarities ? Why in the name of good-
ness have I such children ? What the devil
has got into 'em ? and is it really the case
that when Grace offers me for a proof of her
license and a specimen of her taste such a son-
in-law as you tell me I'm in danger of I've just
helplessly to swallow the dose ? "
" Do you find Mr. Crimble," Lady Sand-
gate asked as if there might really be some-
thing to say for him, " so utterly out of the
question ? "
" I found him on the two occasions before I
went away in the last degree offensive and
outrageous ; but even if he charged one and
one's poor dear decent old defences with less
rabid a fury everything about him would
forbid that kind of relation."
What kind of relation, if any, Hugh's
THE OUTCRY 275
deficiencies might still render thinkable Lord
Theign was kept from going on to mention
by the voice of Mr. Gotch, who had thrown
open the door to the not altogether assured
sound of " Mr. Breckenridge Bender." The
guest in possession gave a cry of impatience >
but Lady Sandgate said " Coming up ? "
" If his lordship will see him."
" Oh, he's beyond his time," his lordship
pronounced " I can't see him now ! "
" Ah, but mustn't you and mayn't /then ? "
She waited, however, for no response to signify
to her servant " Let him come," and her com-
panion could but exhale a groan of reluctant
accommodation as if he wondered at the point
she made of it. It enlightened him indeed
perhaps a little that she went on while Gotch
did her bidding. " Does the kind of relation
you'd be condemned to with Mr. Crimble let
you down, down, down, as you say, more than
the relation you've been having with Mr.
Bender ? "
Lord Theign had for it the most uninforming
of stares. " Do you mean don't I hate 'em
equally both ? "
She cut his further reply short, however, by
276 THE OUTCRY
a " Hush ! " of warning Mr. Bender was there
and his introducer had left them.
Lord Theign, full of his purpose of departure,
sacrificed hereupon little to ceremony. " I've
but a moment, to my regret, to give you, Mr.
Bender, and if you've been unavoidably de-
tained, as you great bustling people are so apt
to be, it will perhaps still be soon enough for
your comfort to hear from me that I've just
given order to close our exhibition. From the
present hour on, sir " he put it with the firm-
ness required to settle the futility of an appeal.
Mr. Bender's large surprise lost itself, how-
ever, promptly enough, in Mr. Bender's larger
ease. "Why, do you really mean it, Lord
Theign ? removing already from view a work
that gives innocent gratification to thousands ? "
" Well," said his lordship curtly, " if thousands
have seen it I've done what I wanted, and it
they've been gratified I'm content and invite
you to be."
Mr. Bender showed more keenness for this
richer implication. " In other words it's I who
may remove the picture ? "
"Well if you'll take it on my estimate."
" But what, Lord Theign, all this time," Mr.
THE OUTCRY 277
Bender almost pathetically pleaded, "is your
estimate ? "
The parting guest had another pause, which
prolonged itself, after he had reached the door,
in a deep solicitation of their hostess's conscious
eyes. This brief passage apparently inspired
his answer. " Lady Sandgate will tell you."
The door closed behind him.
The charming woman smiled then at her
other friend, whose comprehensive presence
appeared now to demand of her some account
of these strange proceedings. " He means
that your own valuation is much too shockingly
" But how can I know how much unless I
find out what he'll take ? " The great collector's
spirit had, in spite of its volume, clearly not
reached its limit of expansion. " Is he crazily
waiting for the thing to be proved not what
Mr. Crimble claims ? "
" No, he's waiting for nothing since he
holds that claim demolished by Pappendick's
tremendous negative, which you wrote to tell
Vast, undeveloped and suddenly grave, Mr.
Bender's countenance showed like a barren
278 THE OUTCRY
tract under a black cloud. " I wrote to report,
fair and square, on Pappendick, but to tell him I'd
take the picture just the same, negative and all."
"Ah, but take it in that way not for what
it is but for what it isn't."
"We know nothing about what it 'isn't,"*
said Mr. Bender, " after all that has happened
we've only learned a little better every day
what it is."
"You mean," his companion asked, "the
biggest bone of artistic contention ? "
"Yes" he took it from her "the biggest
that has been thrown into the arena for quite a
while. I guess I can do with it for that."
Lady Sandgate, on this, after a moment,
renewed her personal advance ; it was as if she
had now made sure of the soundness of her
main bridge. "Well, if it's the biggest bone I
won't touch it ; Til leave it to be mauled by my
betters. But since his lordship has asked me
to name a price, dear Mr. Bender, I'll name one
and as you prefer big prices I'll try to make
it suit you. Only it won't be for the portrait of
a person nobody is agreed about. The whole
world is agreed, you know, about my great-
THE OUTCRY 279
"Oh, shucks, Lady Sandgate!" and her
visitor turned from her with the hunch of over-
But she apparently felt that she held him, or
at least that even if such a conviction might be
fatuous she must now put it to the touch.
"You've been delivered into my hands too
charmingly ; and you won't really pretend that
you don't recognise that and in fact rather like
He faced about to her again as to a case of
coolness unparalleled though indeed with a
quick lapse of real interest in the question of
whether he had been artfully practised upon ; an
indifference to bad debts or peculation like that
of some huge hotel or other business involving
a margin for waste. He could afford, he could
work waste too, clearly and what was it, that
term, you might have felt him ask, but a mean
measure, anyway ? quite as the " artful," opposed
to his larger game, would be the hiding and
pouncing of children at play. " Do I gather
that those uncanny words of his were just
meant to put me off?" he inquired. And then
as she but boldly and smilingly shrugged,
repudiating responsibility, " Look here, Lady
2 8o THE OUTCRY
Sandgate, ain't you honestly going to help me ? "
This engaged her sincerity without affecting
her gaiety. " Mr. Bender, Mr. Bender, I'll
help you if you'll help me ! "
"You'll really get me something from him to
go on with ? "
"I'll get you something from him to go on
" That's all I ask to get that. Then I can
move the way I want. But without it I'm
"You shall have it," she replied, "if I
in turn may look to you for a trifle on
"Well," he dryly gloomed at her, "what do
you call a trifle ? "
" I mean " she waited but an instant " what
you would feel as one."
"That won't do. You haven't the least
idea, Lady Sandgate," he earnestly said, "how
I feel at these foolish times. I've never got
used to them yet."
"Ah, don't you understand," she pressed,
"that if I give you an advantage I'm com-
pletely at your mercy ? "
THE OUTCRY 281
"Well, what mercy," he groaned, " do you
deserve ? "
She waited a little, brightly composed then
she indicated her inner shrine, the whereabouts
of her precious picture. " Go and look at her
again and you'll see."
His protest was large, but so, after a moment,
was his compliance his heavy advance upon
the other room, from just within the doorway
of which the great Lawrence was serenely
visible. Mr. Bender gave it his eyes once
more though after the fashion verily of a
man for whom it had now no freshness of a
glamour, no shade of a secret ; then he came
back to his hostess. " Do you call giving me
an advantage squeezing me by your sweet
modesty for less than I may possibly bear ? "
" How can I say fairer," she returned, "than
that, with my backing about the other picture,
which I've passed you my word for, thrown in,
I'll resign myself to whatever you may be
disposed characteristically ! to give for this
"If it's a question of resignation," said Mr.
Bender, "you mean of course what I may be
disposed characteristically! not to give."
282 THE OUTCRY
She played on him for an instant all her
radiance. "Yes then, you dear sharp rich
"And you take in, I assume," he pursued,
"that I'm just going to lean on you, for what
I want, with the full weight of a determined
"Well," she laughed, "I promise you I'll
thoroughly obey the direction of your pressure."
" All right then ! " And he stopped before
her, in his unrest, monumentally pledged, yet
still more massively immeasurable. " How'll
you have it ? "
She bristled as with all the possible
beautiful choices ; then she shed her selection
as a heaving fruit-tree might have dropped
some round ripeness. It was for her friend to
pick up his plum and his privilege. " Will you
write a cheque ? "
" Yes, if you want it right away. " To which,
however, he added, clapping vainly a breast-
pocket : " But my cheque-book's down in my
"At the door?" She scarce required his
assent to touch a bell. " I can easily send for
it." And she threw off while they waited :
THE OUTCRY 283
41 It's so sweet your ' flying round ' with your
cheque-book ! "
He put it with promptitude another way.
41 It flies round pretty well with me!"
" Mr. Bender's cheque-book in his car,'*
she went on to Gotch, who had answered her
The owner of the interesting object further
instructed him : ' ' You'll find in the pocket a
large red morocco case."
"Very good, sir," said Gotch but with
another word for his mistress. ''Lord John
would like to know "
" Lord John's there ? " she interrupted.
Gotch turned to the open door. " Here he
is, my lady."
She accommodated herself at once, under
Mr. Bender's eye, to the complication involved
in his lordship's presence, "It's he who went
round to Bond Street."
Mr. Bender stared, but saw the connection.
41 To stop the show ?" And then as the young
man was already there : " You've stopped the
show ? "
"It's ' on ' more than ever ! " Lord John
responded while Gotch retired : a hurried,
284 THE OUTCRY
flurried, breathless Lord John, strikingly differ-
ent from the backward messenger she had
lately seen despatched. " But Theign should
be here ! " he addressed her excitedly. " I
announce you a call from the Prince."
"The Prince?" she gasped as for the
burden of the honour. " He follows you?"
Mr. Bender, with an eagerness and a
candour there was no mistaking, recognised on
behalf of his ampler action a world of associa-
tional advantage and auspicious possibility.
" Is the Prince after the thing ? "
Lord John remained, in spite of this chal-
lenge, conscious of nothing but his message.
"He was there with Mackintosh to see and
admire the picture ; which he thinks, by the
way, a Mantovano pure and simple ! and did
me the honour to remember me. When he
heard me report to Mackintosh in his presence
the sentiments expressed to me here by our
noble friend and of which, embarrassed though
I doubtless was," the young man pursued to
Lady Sandgate, " I gave as clear an account as
I could, he was so delighted with it that he
declared they mustn't think then of taking the
thing off, but must on the contrary keep
THE OUTCRY 285
putting it forward for all it's worth, and he
would come round and congratulate and thank
Theign and explain him his reasons."
Their hostess cast about for a sign. " Why
Theign is at Kitty's, worse luck ! The Prince
calls on him here ? "
"He calls, you see, on you, my lady at
five-forty-five ; and graciously desired me so to
put it you."
" He's very kind, but" she took in her
condition "I'm not even dressed!"
"You'll have time" the young man was a
comfort " while I rush to Berkeley Square.
And pardon me, Bender though it's so near
if I just bag your car."
"That's, that's it, take his car!" Lady
Sandgate almost swept him away.
" You may use my car all right," Mr. Bender
contributed "but what I want to know is
what the man's after"
"The man? what man?" his friend scarce
paused to ask.
"The Prince then if you allow he is a
man ! Is he after my picture ? "
Lord John vividly disclaimed authority.
" If you'll wait, my dear fellow, you'll see."
286 THE OUTCRY
"Oh why should he 'wait'?" burst from
their cautious companion only to be caught
up, however, in the next breath, so swift her
gracious revolution. "Wait, wait indeed, Mr.
Bender I won't give you up for any Prince ! "
With which she appealed again to Lord John.
" He wants to ' congratulate ' ? "
"On Theign's decision, as I've told you
which I announced to Mackintosh, by Theign's
extraordinary order, under his Highness's nose,
and which his Highness, by the same token,
took up like a shot."
Her face, as she bethought herself, was con-
vulsed as by some quick perception of what
her informant must have done and what there-
fore the Prince's interest rested on ; all, how-
ever, to the effect, given their actual company,
of her at once dodging and covering that
issue. " The decision to remove the picture ? "
Lord John also observed a discretion. "He
wouldn't hear of such a thing says it must
stay stock still. So there you are ! "
This determined in Mr. Bender a not un-
natural, in fact quite a clamorous, series of
questions. " But where are we, and what has
the Prince to do with Lord Theign's decision
THE OUTCRY 287
when that's all fm here for ? What in thunder
is Lord Theign's decision what was his
' extraordinary order ' ? "
Lord John, too long detained and his hand
now on the door, put off this solicitor as he
had already been put off. " Lady Sandgate,
you tell him ! I rush ! "
Mr. Bender saw him vanish, but all to a
greater bewilderment. "What the h then
(I beg your pardon !) is he talking about, and
what ' sentiments ' did he report round there
that Lord Theign had been expressing ? "
His hostess faced it not otherwise than if
she had resolved not to recognise the subject
of his curiosity for fear of other recognitions.
" They put everything on me, my dear man
but I haven't the least idea."
He looked at her askance. "Then why
does the fellow say you have ? "
Much at a loss for the moment, she yet
found her way. " Because the fellow's so agog
that he doesn't know what he says!" In
addition to which she was relieved by the
reappearance of Gotch, who bore on a salver
the object he had been sent for and to which
he duly called attention.
288 THE OUTCRY
" The large red morocco case."
Lady Sandgate fairly jumped at it. ''Your
blessed cheque-book. Lay it on my desk," she
said to Gotch, though waiting till he had
departed again before she resumed to her
visitor : " Mightn't we conclude before he
comes ? "
"The Prince?" Mr. Bender's imagination
had strayed from the ground to which she
sought to lead it back, and it but vaguely
retraced its steps. " Will he want your great-
grandmother ? "
" Well, he may when he sees her ! " Lady
Sandgate laughed. " And Theign, when he
comes, will give you on his own question, I
feel sure, every information. Shall I fish it
out for you ? " she encouragingly asked, beside
him by her secretary-desk, at which he had
arrived under her persuasive guidance and
where she sought solidly to establish him,
opening out the gilded crimson case for his
employ, so that he had but to help himself.
"What enormous cheques! You can never
draw one for two-pound-ten ! "
" That's exactly what you deserve I should
do!" He remained after this solemnly still,
THE OUTCRY 289
however, like some high-priest circled with
ceremonies ; in consonance with which, the
next moment, both her hands held out to him
the open and immaculate page of the oblong
series much as they might have presented a
royal infant at the christening-font.
He failed, in his preoccupation, to receive
it ; so she placed it before him on the table,
coming away with a brave gay " Well, I leave
it to you ! " She had not, restlessly revolving,
kept her discreet distance for many minutes
before she found herself almost face to face
with the recurrent Gotch, upright at the door
with a fresh announcement.
" Mr. Crimble, please for Lady Grace."
"Mr. Crimble again?" she took it dis-
It reached Mr. Bender at the secretary, but
to a different effect. " Mr. Crimble? Why
he's just the man I want to see ! "
Gotch, turning to the lobby, had only to
make way for him. " Here he is, my lady."
"Then tell her ladyship."
" She has come down," said Gotch while
Hugh arrived and his companion withdrew,
and while Lady Grace, reaching the scene
290 THE OUTCRY
from the other quarter, emerged in bright
equipment in her hat, scarf and gloves.
THESE young persons were thus at once con-
fronted across the room, and the girl explained
her preparation. " I was listening hard for
your knock and your voice."
" Then know that, thank God, it's all right ! "
Hugh was breathless, jubilant, radiant.
" A Mantovano?" she delightedly cried.
" A Mantovano ! " he proudly gave back.
"A Mantovano!" it carried even Lady
"A Mantovano a sure thing?" Mr.
Bender jumped up from his business, all
gaping attention to Hugh.
4 'I've just left our blest Bardi," said that
young man "who hasn't the shadow of a
doubt and is delighted to publish it every-
" Will he publish it right here to me ? " Mr.
Bender hungrily asked.
THE OUTCRY 291
" Well," Hugh smiled, "you can try him."
"But try him how, where?" The great
collector, straining to instant action, cast about
for his hat. " Where is he, hey ? "
"Don't you wish I'd tell you?" Hugh, in
his personal elation, almost cynically answered.
" Won't you wait for the Prince?" Lady
Sandgate had meanwhile asked of her friend ;
but had turned more inspectingly to Lady
Grace before he could reply. " My dear child
though you're lovely! are you sure you're
ready for him ? "
" For the Prince ! " the girl was vague.
"Is he coming?"
"At five-forty-five." With which she con-
sulted her bracelet watch, but only at once to
wail for alarm. "Ah, it is that, and I'm not
dressed ! " She hurried off through the other
Mr. Bender, quite accepting her retreat,
addressed himself again unabashed to Hugh.
"It's your blest Bardi I want first I'll take
the Prince after."
The young man clearly could afford indul-
gence now. "Then I left him at Long's
292 THE OUTCRY
"Why, right near! I'll come back." And
Mr. Bender's flight was on the wings of
But it all gave Hugh a quick question for
Lady Grace. "Why does the Prince come,
and what in the world's happening ? "
" My father has suddenly returned it may
have to do with that."
The shadow of his surprise darkened visibly
to that of his fear. " Mayn't it be more than
anything else to give you and me his final
curse ? "
" I don't know and I think I don't care. I
don't care," she said, "so long as you're right
and as the greatest light of all declares you
" He is the greatest" Hugh was vividly of
that opinion now : "I could see it as soon as
I got there with him, the charming creature !
There, before the holy thing, and with the
place, by good luck, for those great moments,
practically to ourselves without Mackintosh to
take in what was happening or any one else
at all to speak of it was but a matter of ten
minutes : he had come, he had seen, and / had
THE OUTCRY 293
"Naturally you had!" the girl hung on
him for it; "and what was happening beyond
everything else was that for your original dear
divination, one of the divinations of genius
with every creature all these ages so stupid
you were being baptised on the spot a great
"Well, he did let poor Pappendick have it
at least he doesn't think hes one : that that
eminent judge couldn't, even with such a leg
up, rise to my level or seize my point. And if
you really want to know," Hugh went on in
his gladness, "what for us has most particularly
and preciously taken place, it is that in his
opinion, for my career "
"Your reputation," she cried, "blazes out
and your fortune's made ? "
He did a happy violence to his modesty.
" Well, Bardi adores intelligence and takes off
his hat to me."
" Then you need take off yours to nobody! "
such was Lady Grace's proud opinion.
" But I should like to take off mine to him"
she added ; "which I seem to have put on
to get out and away with you expressly for
294 THE OUTCRY
Hugh, as he looked her over, took it up in
bliss. "Ah, we'll go forth together to him
then thanks to your happy, splendid impulse !
and you'll back him gorgeously up in the
good he thinks of me."
His friend yet had on this a sombre second
thought. " The only thing is that our awful
American ! "
But he warned her with a raised hand.
4 ' Not to speak of our awful Briton ! "
For the door had opened from the lobby,
admitting Lord Theign, unattended, who, at
sight of his daughter and her companion, pulled
up and held them a minute in reprehensive
view all at least till Hugh undauntedly,
indeed quite cheerfully, greeted him.
" Since you find me again in your path, my
lord, it's because I've a small, but precious
document to deliver you, if you'll allow me
to do so ; which I feel it important myself to
place in your hand." He drew from his breast
a pocket-book and extracted thence a small
unsealed envelope ; retaining the latter a trifle
helplessly in his hand while Lord Theign only
opposed to this demonstration an unmitigated
blankness. He went none the less bravely on.
THE OUTCRY 295
" I mentioned to you the last time we somewhat
infelicitously met that I intended to appeal to
another and probably more closely qualified
artistic authority on the subject of your so-called
Moretto ; and I in fact saw the picture half an
hour ago with Bardi of Milan, who, there in
presence of it, did absolute, did ideal justice, as
I had hoped, to the claim I've been making.
I then went with him to his hotel, close at
hand, where he dashed me off this brief and
rapid, but quite conclusive, Declaration, which,
if you'll be so good as to read it, will enable
you perhaps to join us in regarding the vexed
question as settled."
His lordship, having faced this speech with-
out a sign, rested on the speaker a somewhat
more confessed intelligence, then looked hard
at the offered note and hard at the floor all to
avert himself actively afterward and, with his
head a good deal elevated, add to his distance,
as it were, from every one and everything so
indelicately thrust on his attention. This
movement had an ambiguous makeshift air,
yet his companions, under the impression of it,
exchanged a hopeless look. His daughter
none the less lifted her voice. " If you won't
296 THE OUTCRY
take what he has for you from Mr. Crimble,
father, will you take it from me ? " And then
as after some apparent debate he appeared to
decide to heed her, "It may be so long again,"
she said, " before you've a chance to do a thing
"The chance will depend on yourself!" he
returned with high dry emphasis. But he held
out his hand for the note Hugh had given her
and with which she approached him ; and
though face to face they seemed more separated
than brought near by this contact without
commerce. She turned away on one side when
he had taken the missive, as Hugh had turned
away on the other ; Lord Theign drew forth
the contents of the envelope and broodingly
and inexpressively read the few lines ; after
which, as having done justice to their sense, he
thrust the paper forth again till his daughter
became aware and received it. She restored
it to her friend while her father dandled off
anew, but coming round this time, almost as
by a circuit of the room, and meeting Hugh,
who took advantage of it to repeat by a frank
gesture his offer of Bardi's attestation. Lord
Theign passed with the young man on this a
THE OUTCRY $97
couple of mute minutes of the same order as
those he had passed with Lady Grace In the
same connection ; their eyes dealt deeply with
their eyes but to the effect of his lordship's
accepting the gift, which after another minute
he had slipped into his breast-pocket. It was
not till then that he brought out a curt but
resonant " Thank you!" While the others
awaited his further pleasure he again bethought
himself then he addressed Lady Grace. " I
must let Mr. Bender know "
"Mr. Bender," Hugh interposed, "does know.
He's at the present moment with the author of
that note at Long's Hotel."
"Then I must now write him" and his
lordship, while he spoke and from where he
stood, looked in refined disconnectedness out
of the window.
"Will you write there?" and his daughter
indicated Lady Sandgate's desk, at which we
have seen Mr. Bender so importantly seated.
Lord Theign had a start at her again speak-
ing to him ; but he bent his view on the con-
venience awaiting him and then, as to have
done with so tiresome a matter, took advantage
of it. He went and placed himself, and had
298 THE OUTCRY
reached for paper and a pen when, struck
apparently with the display of some incongruous
object, he uttered a sharp " Hallo ! "
" You don't find things ? " Lady Grace asked
as remote from him in one quarter of the
room as Hugh was in another.
' 'On the contrary !" he oddly replied. But
plainly suppressing any further surprise he
committed a few words to paper and put them
into an envelope, which he addressed and
" If you like," said Hugh urbanely, " I'll carry
him that myself."
" But how do you know what it consists of ? "
" I don't know. But I risk it."
His lordship weighed the proposition in a
high impersonal manner he even nervously
weighed his letter, shaking it with one hand
upon the finger-tips of the other ; after which,
as finally to acquit himself of any measureable
obligation, he allowed Hugh, by a surrender
of the interesting object, to redeem his offer of
service. " Then you'll learn," he simply said.
" And may / learn ? " asked Lady Grace.
"You?" The tone made so light of her
that it was barely interrogative.
THE OUTCRY 299
"May I go with him?"
Her father looked at the question as at some
cup of supreme bitterness a nasty and now
quite regular dose with which his lips were
familiar, but before which their first movement
was always tightly to close. " With me, my
lord," said Hugh at last, thoroughly determined
they should open and intensifying the emphasis.
He had his effect, and Lord Theign's answer,
addressed to Lady Grace, made indifference
very comprehensive. " You may do what ever
you dreadfully like ! "
At this then the girl, with an air that seemed
to present her choice as absolutely taken,
reached the door which Hugh had come across
to open for her. Here she paused as for
another, a last look at her father, and her
expression seemed to say to him unaidedly
that, much as she would have preferred to
proceed to her act without this gross disorder,
she could yet find inspiration too in the very
difficulty and the old faiths themselves that
he left her to struggle with. All this made
for depth and beauty in her serious young face
as it had indeed a force that, not indis-
tinguishably, after an instant, his lordship lost
300 THE OUTCRY
any wish for longer exposure to. His shift of
his attitude before she went out was fairly an
evasion ; if the extent of the levity of one of
his daughters made him afraid, what might
have been his present strange sense but a fear
of the other from the extent of her gravity ?
Lady Grace passes from us at any rate in her
laced and pearled and plumed slimness and
her pale concentration leaving her friend a
moment, however, with his hand on the door.
" You thanked me just now for Bardi's
opinion after all," Hugh said with a smile ;
" and it seems to me that after all as well
I've grounds for thanking you." On which he
left his benefactor alone.
"Tit for tat!" There broke from Lord
Theign, in his solitude, with the young man
out of earshot, that vague ironic comment ;
which only served his turn, none the less, till,
bethinking himself, he had gone back to the
piece of furniture used for his late scribble and
come away from it again the next minute
delicately holding a fair slip that we naturally
recognise as Mr. Bender's forgotten cheque.
This apparently surprising value he now
studied at his ease and to the point of its even
THE OUTCRY 301
drawing from him an articulate "What in
damnation ?" His speculation dropped
before the return of his hostess, whose
approach through the other room fell upon
his ear and whom he awaited after a quick
thrust of the cheque into his waistcoat.
Lady Sandgate appeared now in due that is
in the most happily adjusted splendour; she
had changed her dress for something smarter
and more appropriate to the entertainment of
Princes. " Tea will be downstairs," she said.
" But you're alone ? "
" I've just parted," her friend replied, " with
Grace and Mr. Crimble."
" ' Parted ' with them ? " the ambiguity
" Well, they've gone out together to flaunt
their monstrous connection ! "
"You speak," she laughed, " as if it were
too gross ! They're surely coming back ? "
" Back to you, if you like but not to
" Ah, what are you and I," she tenderly
argued, " but one and the same quantity ? And
though you may not as yet absolutely re-
joice in well, whatever they're doing," she
302 THE OUTCRY
cheerfully added, " you'll get beautifully used
"That's just what I'm afraid of what such
horrid matters make of one ! "
"At the worst then, you see" she main-
tained her optimism "the recipient of royal
attentions ! "
"Oh," said her companion, whom his honour
seemed to leave comparatively cold, " it's
simply as if the gracious Personage were coming
to condole ! "
Impatient of the lapse of time, in any case,
she assured herself again of the hour. " Well,
if he only does come ! "
" John the wretch ! " Lord Theign returned
"will take care of that: he has nailed him
and will bring him."
"What was it then," his friend found occa-
sion in the particular tone of this reference to
demand, "what was it that, when you sent
him off, John spoke of you in Bond Street as
specifically intending ? "
Oh he saw it now all lucidly if not rather
luridly and thereby the more tragically. "He
described me in his nasty rage as consistently
well, heroic ! "
THE OUTCRY 303
" His rage " she pieced it sympathetically
out " at your destroying his cherished credit
with Bender ? "
Lord Theign was more and more possessed
of this view of the manner of it. "I had
come between him and some profit that he
doesn't confess to, but that made him vici-
ously and vindictively serve me up there, as
he caught the chance, to the Prince and the
People ! "
She cast about, in her intimate interest, as
for some closer conception of it. " By saying
that you had remarked here that you offered
the People the picture ?
"As a sacrifice yes! to morbid, though
respectable scruples." To which he sharply
added, as if struck with her easy grasp of the
scene: "But I hope you've nothing to call a
memory for any such extravagance ? "
Lady Sandgate waited then boldly took
her line. " None whatever ! You had reacted
against Bender but you hadn't gone so far
as that ! "
He had it now all vividly before him. " I
had reacted like a gentleman ; but it didn't
thereby follow that I acted or spoke like a
30 4 THE OUTCRY
demagogue ; and my mind's a complete blank
on the subject of my having done so."
" So that there only flushes through your
conscience," she suggested, "the fact that he
has forced your hand ? "
Fevered with the sore sense of it his lordship
wiped his brow. "He has played me, for
spite, his damned impertinent trick!"
She found but after a minute for it wasn't
easy the right word, or the least wrong, for
the situation. " Well, even if he did so
diabolically commit you, you still don't want
do you ? to back out."
Resenting the suggestion, which restored all
his nobler form, Lord Theign fairly drew himself
up. " When did I ever in all my life back out ? "
" Never, never in all your life of course ! "
she dashed a bucketful at the flare. "And the
picture after all ! "
" The picture after all " he took her up in
cold grim gallant despair "has just been
pronounced definitely priceless." And then
to meet her gaping ignorance : "By Mr.
Crimble's latest and apparently greatest adviser,
who strongly stamps it a Mantovano and
whose practical affidavit I now possess."
THE OUTCRY 305
Poor Lady Sandgate gaped but the more
she wondered and yearned. "Definitely
priceless ? "
" Definitely priceless." After which he took
from its place of lurking, considerately unfold-
ing it, the goodly slip he had removed from her
blotting-book. "Worth even more therefore
than what Bender so blatantly offers."
Her attention fell with interest, from the
distance at which she stood, on this confirma-
tory document, her recognition of which was not
immediate. " And is that the affidavit ? "
" This is a cheque to your order, my lady,
for ten thousand pounds."
" Ten thousand ? " she echoed it with a
" Drawn by some hand unknown," he went
" Unknown ? " again, in her muffled joy,
she let it sound out.
"Which I found there at your desk a
moment ago, and thought best, in your interest,
to rescue from accident or neglect ; even
though it be, save for the single stroke of a
name begun," he wound up with his look like
a playing searchlight, " unhappily unsigned."
306 THE OUTCRY
" Unsigned ? " the exhibition of her design,
of her defeat, kept shaking her. "Then it
isn't good ? "
" It's a Barmecide feast, my dear! " he had
still, her kind friend, his note of grimness and
also his penetration of eye. ' But who is it
writes you colossal cheques ? "
" And then leaves them lying about ? " Her
case was so bad that you would have seen how
she felt she must do something something
quite splendid. She recovered herself, she
faced the situation with all her bright bravery
of expression and aspect ; conscious, you
might have guessed, that she had never more
strikingly embodied, on such lines, the elegant,
the beautiful and the true. "Why, who can it
have been but poor Breckenridge too ? "
" ' Breckenridge ' ? " Lord Theign had his
smart echoes. "What in the world does he
owe you money for ? "
It took her but an instant more she per-
formed the great repudiation quite as she
might be prepared to sweep, in the Presence
impending, her grandest curtsey. "Not, you
sweet suspicious thing, for my great-grand-
mother ! " And then as his glare didn't fade :
THE OUTCRY 307
" Bender makes my life a burden for the love
of my precious Lawrence."
" Which you're weakly letting him grab ? "
nothing could have been finer with this than
Lord Theign's reprobation unless it had been
She shook her head as in bland compassion
for such an idea. "It isn't a payment, you
goose it's a bribe! I've withstood him, these
trying weeks, as a rock the tempest ; but he
wrote that and left it there, the fiend, to tempt
me to corrupt me ! "
4 'Without putting his name?" her com-
panion again turned over the cheque.
She bethought herself, clearly with all her
genius, as to this anomaly, and the light of
reality broke. "He must have been inter-
rupted in the artful act he sprang up with
such a bound at Mr. Crimble's news. At once
then for his interest in it he hurried off,
leaving the cheque forgotten and unfinished."
She smiled more intensely, her eyes attached,
as from fascination, to the morsel of paper still
handled by her friend. " But of course on his
next visit he'll add his great signature."
"The devil he will!" and Lord Theign,
308 THE OUTCRY
with the highest spirit, tore the crisp token
into several pieces, which fluttered, as worth-
less now as pure snowflakes, to the floor.
"Ay, ay, ay!" it drew from her a wail of
which the character, for its sharp inconsequence,
was yet comic.
This renewed his stare at her. " Do you
want to back out? I mean from your noble
As quickly, however, she had saved herself.
"I'd rather do even what you're doing offer
my treasure to the Thingumbob ! "
He was touched by this even to sympathy.
* ' Will you then join me in setting the example
of a great donation ? "
"To the What-do-you-call-it ? " she ex-
"I call it," he said with dignity, "the
4 National Gallery.'"
She closed her eyes as with a failure of
breath. " Ah my dear friend ! "
"It would convince me," he went on,
insistent and persuasive.
"Of the sincerity of my affection?" she
drew nearer to him.
"It would comfort me" he was satisfied
THE OUTCRY 309
with his own expression. Yet in a moment,
when she had come all rustlingly and fragrantly
close, "It would captivate me," he handsomely
" It would captivate you ? " It was for her,
we should have seen, to be satisfied with
his expression ; and, with our more informed
observation of all it was a question of her
giving up, she would have struck us as subtly
He gallantly amplified. "It would peculiarly
by which I mean it would so naturally
unite us ! "
Well, that was all she wanted. " Then for
a complete union with you of fact as well as
of fond fancy ! " she smiled " there's nothing,
even to my one ewe lamb, I'm not ready to
"Ah, we don't surrender," he urged "we
enjoy ! "
"Yes," she understood: "with the glory of
our grand gift thrown in."
"We quite swagger," he gravely observed
" though even swaggering would after this be
dull without you."
" Oh, I'll swagger with you ! " she cried as if
3 io THE OUTCRY
it quite settled and made up for everything;
and then impatiently, as she beheld Lord John,
whom the door had burst open to admit :
" The Prince ! " the young man launched it
as a call to arms.
They had fallen apart on the irruption, the,
pair discovered, but she flashed straight at her
lover : " Then we can swagger now ! "
Lord Theign had reached the open door.
41 1 meet him below."
Demurring, debating, however, she stayed
him a moment. " But oughtn't / in my own
His lordship caught her meaning. "You
mean he may think ?" But he as easily
pronounced. " He shall think the Truth!''
And with a kiss of his hand to her he was
Lord John, who had gazed in some
wonder at these demonstrations, was quickly
about to follow, but she checked him with
an authority she had never before used and
which was clearly the next moment to prove
irresistible. " Lord John, be so good as to
stop." Looking about at the condition of a
THE OUTCRY 311
room on the point of receiving so august a
character, she observed on the floor the
fragments of the torn cheque, to which she
sharply pointed. " And please pick up that
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